WEEK TEN-Saints vs. Steelers and Fearless Predictions
The Saints travel to the home of the world champions this week in what could be a statement game for the boys in black and gold. Last week, another alumnus from the Saints Draft Class of 2006 played a key role in their victory. Who will step up this week? Let’s take a look at the Saints/Steelers and the rest of WEEK TEN in the NFL.
CLASS OF 2006
This year’s draft class of the Saints is shaping up to be the best in the franchise’s history. Seventh round pick Zach Strief got his first NFL start at arguably one of the toughest positions at left tackle. Strief also had to face one of the best pass rushing defensive ends in Simeon Rice. The result: Rice had one tackle and one assist. Add Strief to the growing list of rookies that have contributed in a big way for this team. Reggie Bush, Roman Harper, Jahri Evans, Rob Ninkovich, Zach Strief, and Marques Colston will go down as the best draft class in Saints history.
The last time the Saints were in first place this late in the season was in 2002, when they were tied with the Buccaneers with a 7-2 record after week 10. The Saints have yet to win a division title since switching to the NFC South in 2001. With half of a season left to play, anything can happen, but right now, you have to like the Saints’ chances of earning their first NFC South division championship banner to hang in the Dome next season.
WEEK TEN: Pittsburgh Steelers
Last season at this point, the Steelers were sitting at 6-2 going into week ten, while the Saints were floundering at 2-7. What a difference a year makes. Now, the defending Super Bowl champions are still a very dangerous team, with both their offense and defense ranked in the top 10. And the Steelers are playing at home, which has always been a tough place to visit. The biggest difference in the Steelers this year has been QB Ben Roethlisberger’s problems with turnovers. Big Ben has had a rough stretch of life since winning the Super Bowl in February, and is probably in need of a break in order to regroup. Backup QB Charlie Batch is one of the better second string quarterbacks in the NFL, and it shouldn’t be surprising to see him if Roethlisberger continues to struggle early on this weekend. Wide Receiver Hines Ward continues to be one of the best all-around football players in the NFL, and no wideout is better at downfield blocking than Hines. Running back Willie Parker has taken the reigns in the backfield, but the Steelers do miss Jerome Bettis in the red zone.
On defense, Joey Porter leads a fearsome group of linebackers. SS Troy Polamalu, aka the “Tasmanian Devil” has had an off year this year, but is always a threat to make big plays in the secondary. Louisiana native Ike Taylor is starting at cornerback for the Steelers.
CB Fred Thomas vs. WR Hines Ward-while the Saints don’t switch their cornerbacks around following particular receivers, you can bet Ward will see plenty of action against Thomas on Sunday. Thomas as played solid this season.
RB Reggie Bush vs. Steelers front seven-Bush is still learning to run the football in the NFL, and will be facing one of the NFL’s best defenses this week.
John Carney/Steve Weatherford vs. Weather in Pittsburgh-as of right now, the forecast is high temps in the 40’s, low temps in the 30’s. You can bet there will be some windy conditions Sunday evening.
SCOTT’S FEARLESS PREDICTIONS
Line: Steelers favored by 4
Despite the recent success of the Saints and the recent failures of the Steelers, this game looks to be an evenly matched game. By no means will this game be decided early, as both teams have great leaders and great coaches. I think this game will be decided by the typical “rushing and turnovers” margin. Deuce McAllister runs for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Drew Brees completes 62% of his passes and a touchdown to Joe Horn, who plays after taking last week off. Saints give up 110 yards on the ground, another 240 in the air. John Carney is the difference in the game. Scott says take the Saints and the four points…Saints 27, Steelers 24.
*Due to no article last week, all results are from week eight
Last Week: 4-10 (.285)
Season: 47-49-5 (.490)
Lock O’ The Week: 3-3 (.500)
LOCK O’ THE WEEK: Kansas City -1 over Miami-As long as Chiefs don’t turn the ball over six times, they win.
And now for the rest of WEEK TEN in the NFL:
Bal -7 over Ten-Ravens look like legit contender in AFC
Ind -11 ½ over Buf-Colts are best in NFL
Cle +9 over Atl-Falcons are too inconsistent
GB +5 ½ over Min-Vikes are Falcons of the NFC Central
Hou + 10 ½ over Jax-Jags win one close
NE -10 ½ over NYJ-Jets pick bad week to play Pats after loss
SD -1 over Cin-Bengals are imploding
Det -6 over SF-Lions get two in a row
Phi -7 over Was-Eagles rested after bye week
Den -9 over Oak-Shell announces Vince McMahon as quality control coach
Ari +7 over Dal-where will Owens play next year?
Sea -3 ½ over Stl-Seahawks are hard to beat at home
Chi +2 over NYG-Bears reclaim best team in NFC
TB +9 ½ over Car-Panthers win a close one