The Bye Week Pro Bowl: The Prognosticators Among Us

Part of the fun of being a football fan is making pronouncements on all sorts of things, including some we probably know nothing about.

If we turned out to be right, we can call everyone’s attention to this. If we don’t, we keep very quiet and hope no one notices.

Unfortunately, one occasionally has the bad luck to make such predictions close enough to the proof to the contrary that it isn’t possible.

There are no quiet corners on this site. I have gone through your comments with a fine-toothed comb, and your predictions are now front and center. Naturally, most of these are from a while back, since it’s easier to see whether they were correct or not. Are You Ready?

At the end of the article you have the opportunity to vote for your favorites, and we will declare the champion afterwards. I suppose we really ought to vote for who was the most (or least) prescient, but that seems like a lot of trouble.

The numbering is, as always, reverse chronological.

Category 3: Prognostications: Psychic, or Not So Much:

Opponent Preview: Bye Week:

№1. Cliff Harris is Still a Punk:

The one thing I’ve noticed in my time around football is it’s hard to come back mentally from the bye. You get used to the demanding routine of football – the meetings, the practices, being mentally locked in to endure the stress and the pain and the challenge. You thrive on the routine because it’s what allows you to push through how difficult the “game” really is. Then you get a few days off to do some “normal” things, which for players can mean anything from paying bills and spending time with their family to playing video games and taking naps. Either way, it jolts you out of the football routine.

Coming back to that routine can be very challenging. That’s where you see really good coaches, I think. How do they prepare teams for the mental grind again? Resting up physically is definitely helpful but resting up mentally can be damaging if a coach can’t get his players hungry again.

So much of coaching goes beyond X and O’s. Dealing with the bye week is certainly one of them.

[Okay, so this could go either way. Read on.]

Cardinals recap Part 2:

№ 2. Rebekita: 

Craaaazzzzy game, and it went kind of like the weather. First half was overcast and gray. At halftime, it was raining sideways. For the second half, it gradually cleared up and the sun came out. What a game! What a day! And I take back every bad thing that I said about Landry Jones.

This team is something special.

[However this season comes out, I believe her last line will be predictive as well as true so far…]

Rams preview:

№ 3. elpalito:

I do think that the Washington game was a huge let-down for the Rams. They certainly are not as bad as that…and we Steelers fans know about a good team playing down to competition on occasion. I think touchdowns will be hard to come by this week.

[Final score, 12-6. Bonus points if you can remember who scored the single touchdown…]

№ 4. Homer J.:

The Rams looked awful against the Skins, but Homer is wary of the matchups. They are strong on pass rush, so it is key to protect Ben. And they have an absolutely electric wide receiver, so it is imperative to have Foles running for his life.

Dr Wallace is key for the offense, for obvious reasons. And Wreck-it and Tuitt are key for the D.

If those guys have anywhere near the games they had against the Niners, Ben and Shazier will follow suit. If not, it could be a real dogfight and a long, painful afternoon.

Week 2 Smoldering Questions:

№ 5. Homer J.:

Not worried [about Josh Scobee.] New snapper, new holder, new town….but a kicker with a proven track record and a huge leg. Scobee has a much stronger leg than Sweet Cheeks, and that means more touchbacks. He’ll straighten out his place kicks for now. My worry is what happens when the skies of November turn gloomy. (Gordon Lightfoot nod for our Canadian fans)

[Shame he wasn’t correct…]

№ 6.  Ivan:

…being DC based we remember when Suisham was part of the Redskins and his play was reminiscent at that time of what Scobee has put on display these first two games. We sat watching games in terror, fearing that Shaun would relapse at any time, but it never happened. My way of saying it can happen to the best of them. Whether Josh’s future looks more like Suisham or Sweed remains to be seen. The good news is that the general competence of special teams (something we haven’t given nearly enough attention to so far), a very good punting game and a ridiculously potent offense, it just so happens as COS points out that we’ve never needed consistent placekicking less. We can afford to play wait and see.


Week 1 Smoldering Questions:

№ 7.   earthling:

The whole NFC West scares me. The Niners seemed like they might be the weakest of the division but despite the comedy of errors in the first half of MNF, they looked tireless. Bowman’s back on defense and Kaep’s like one of those clumsy dogs who keeps trying and trying and finally catches a few tennis balls. How about the secondary gets its act together and hogs all the tennis balls?…I would like to see [Vick] on the field, if only so someone other than Ben gets sacked.

[Unfortunately earthling got his wish a week later…]

Humility and How I Got It

№ 8.  chris bellman: 

Particularly liked the bit about my fellow Canadian Shaun Suisham. Missed him badly in the first game, hope Scobee does not give us cause to miss him more starting this Sunday.

Patriots game recap:

№ 9. mad anthony wayne: (now known as roxanna firehall)

I fail to see the value of Archer to this team. Give Sammie a hat. Jessie James, too. He may wash out, but there’s potential there.

Patriots preview:

№ 10: roxanna firehall:

Just for fun, I thought I’d join in. I have NO CLUE. As a retired lawyer, that will no way deter me from offering an opinion. I’ll take the Steelers and the seven points (monopoly money, only). Satan’s Horde 31-Steelers 27.

№ 11.  Homer J.

Homer wouldn’t touch the Steelers in this game with a ten foot pole – or even if you gave him ten points. Like Krusty, he’s all business when it comes to investing in laundry…..and the guys with the black and gold laundry haven’t shown the ability to stop a first string offense in any pre-season action. Yes, we know it’s pre-season, but you still have to block, tackle, cover, and hit people.

Homer can’t see NE scoring less than 34 points….and thinks 42 is more like it.

The fact that so many guys were let go the last week – including draft picks you expected to stick around – is unsettling, to say the least. We were looking for answers on D, and the didn’t find them with the draft choices. AND, just as important, there was no time to wait to see if they might develop. Unsettling as hell. Tomlin and Butler haven’t pushed the panic button just yet, but they’ve pushed the one next to it. The one that says, “uh-oh. If this doesn’t work, try to red one next to this one.”

42-24, Patriots. (Hope I’m wrong)

[I think roxanna won that one : )

Case for the 2015 Steelers, Part 2:

№ 12.  cold old steelers fan:

The only fly in the ointment, as far as the offense is concerned, is health. The number of injuries this season is ominous. I fear this team may battle mightily all season only to run out of warm bodies in December. Like the Charlie Batch vs Dennis Dixon debate, I hope I am wrong.

[I hope he’s only half right. Fervently hope.]

Bills (preseason) recap:

№ 13. Ivan: 

I have something good to say [about the game.] I didn’t see it. Returning to town at around 11 pm after a long drive, I stopped to pick up something to eat (I know, eating late at night, not good). My first inkling of what happened was when they were posting scores on the television ‘Bills 43…’ FORTY THREE !!!! Uh-oh. Now to put in into perspective, the game that was on involved Washington apparently beating the crap out of the Ravens, so we could comfort ourselves with the reminder that in the preseason some things just aren’t real.

№ 14. cold old steelers fan:

I would take a young place kicker over an older one at this time. That way there is hope of some upside. The old guys have pretty much set the bar for their performances.

[Why the heck didn’t you save us all a lot of grief and call the Front Office, cosf? If we don’t make the playoffs we know where to assign the blame…]

James Harrison article:  

№ 15.  Homer J.

It’s all about the pass rush this year. Pass rush, like ketchup, can hide a multitude of sins. If the front three can take up the blockers and collapse the pocket, freeing the linebackers to wreak some havoc with the quarterback, the world will be amazed at how much the Steeler secondary has improved. It’s really up to the linebackers.

If they don’t get the pressure, they’ll look like they did on the Packers’ first drive on Sunday. If they DO get the pressure, they’ll look more like they did the rest of the game.

№ 16geoffrey benedict: 

Tomlin and Harrison remind me of the stories of Huang Zhong, an old general. His liege would get him fired up by telling him that an honored general like him should stay back and let the younger men fight. Huang Zhong would break bows in half and then lead his troops to victory.

Not the Starter, limited snaps, held out of practice to protect him, Tomlin knows how to push James’ buttons.

Training Camp Report:  

№ 17. elpalito: 

Thanks for the write up. Maybe i’m setting myself up for disappointment, but I really feel that the defense will be ok. Not great, but an average middle of the pack D…and that is much better than many are expecting.

You may stuff the ballot box and vote for as many as you like. Have at it : )


  • cold_old_steelers_fan

    I voted for everyone but I think they are all winners.


    • cold_old_steelers_fan

      Argh… because (not but) they are all winners. I am fried.

      I was working the Grey Cup again tonight. In the snafu after the game I noticed many actual players from the Red Blacks (they lost) trying to find rides back to their hotel. It was obvious that someone messed something up in the organizing. I was driving a bunch of execs from Edmonton at the time and the comment was that Winnipeg is a hard town. If you lose, you have to walk back.


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