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Super Bowl 52 Picks: Predicting the winner of Patriots vs. Eagles

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 7:47am

Time to put on my prognosticator hat one more time in this 2017-2018 season.

Fans love predictions. I don’t know why some are infatuated with reading what other people think regarding the outcome of a particular game, but predictions are a big part of today’s sports media—and the Super Bowl is pro football’s biggest game of the year.

So this is the final time during the 2017-2018 season that I’ll don my prognosticator hat to give the pick for an NFL contest. The only difference between this pick and my usual picks? The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t playing.

Nonetheless, here we are preparing for Super Bowl 52 between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.

First, let me say picking a winner between the hated Patriots and a team from Philadelphia is like choosing between having your fingernails ripped out and suffering the torture of waterboarding. But I’ll proceed with a steadfast approach...

This is a game where I honestly wish Carson Wentz were healthy. Imagine Wentz, and the high-flying Eagles’ offense vs. Tom Brady and the Patriots’ ridiculous consistency. That would be one heck of a showcase, but now we prepare for Brady vs. Nick Foles.

Talk about a mismatch.

Although on paper this seems like a slam dunk, Foles proved in the NFC Championship game he’s capable of making the necessary plays. But this game isn’t about the Eagles’ offense — it’s about the defense.

Whenever Brady has struggled in the NFL’s biggest game, it has been at the hands of an aggressive defensive front who can pressure him for four quarters. Just ask the Atlanta Falcons what it’s like to run out of gas in the fourth quarter against Brady and the boys.

Fletcher Cox and company are certainly capable, but can they withstand the New England attack for four quarters? This is what concerns me. The Patriots’ offense wears you down until you can’t do anything but watch Brady dissect you, piece-by-piece.

Now for the actual prediction...

I think this game will be a lot closer than most believe, but I just can’t pick the Eagles with Foles at quarterback. This isn’t me picking with my heart, because I would never pick the Patriots to win even a scrimmage, but my head realizes how difficult it will be for the Eagles.

I’ll take the Patriots to win their second consecutive championship and tie the Steelers with six Super Bowl titles.

Patriots - 23
Eagles - 16

Shazier update, contracts & more

Steelers.com News - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 7:00am
If you missed anything this week, we have you covered with our weekly recap.

Ranking the best plays of Super Bowl history

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 6:33am

BTSC determines the best of the Top-12 plays in Super Bowl lore.

The Super Bowl is full of memorable plays like Willie Parker's record run, the Saints surprise onside-kick, Scott Norwood's miss and Jermaine Kearse's on-his-back, bobble grab. Many have debated the greatest plays of all time, but here’s a compilation of the Super Bowl's very best in chronological order. At the end, vote your choice for the best-of-the-best.

1) Super Bowl XLynn Swann's Juggling Act

January 18, 1976 - Swann's balletic bobble and grab late in the second quarter of a close Super Bowl has been immortalized by NFL Films for more than 40 years now. The Steelers didn't score on the drive, but Swann's majestic grab helped flip the field and lead the Steelers to victories in consecutive years. Swann ended with four catches for 161 yards and became the first receiver to be named Super Bowl MVP.

2) Super Bowl XVII Riggins run on 4th-and-1

January 30,1983 - With his Redskins losing 17-13 in the fourth quarter, Riggins more than converted a 4th-and-1 from the Dolphins 43 for a game-changing score.

3) Super Bowl XVIIIMarcus Allen's "Which Way Should I Go?"

January 22, 1984 - This was far from a game-changer because the game was well in hand, but Marcus Allen reversed field and turned a broken sweep into a cutback and one of the prettiest TD runs of all time. I was rooting against the Raiders, but this play mesmerized me.

4) Super Bowl XXIII -- Joe Cool and the Taylor-made catch

January 22, 1989 - Calming his team by pointing out John Candy in the stands, Joe Montana found John Taylor with 35 seconds left after leading his team 92 yards to victory. This dramatic catch crushed Cincinnati, along with the souls of Who-Dey Nation.

5) Super Bowl XXXIIThe Elway-copter

John Elway and the Broncos were 0-3 in the Super Bowl and were serious underdogs to Green Bay in this contest. On 3rd-and-6 from the Packers’ 12, Elway scrambled away from Green Bay attackers and, with no regard for his body or welfare, No. 7 dove head-first and got cracked and spun like helicopter blades in the air. Terrell Davis then scored to put Denver ahead in a game they won 31-24. It became the iconic Elway moment of his Hall of Fame career.

6) Super Bowl XXXIVRams Vacuum up Dyson inside the one

January 30, 2000 - Down seven with six seconds left, Steve McNair had already driven his Titans 78 yards. With ten more to go, McNair found Kevin Dyson on a slant to possibly send the game into overtime. But LB Mike Jones dropped Dyson inches from the goal line, preserving the title for the Rams.

7) Super Bowl XLIIDavid Tyree's "Giant helmet-catch"

February 3, 2008 - A perfect example of David vs. Goliath occurred after the 2007 season when the 18-0 Patriots were poised to make history against the 13-6 underdogs. Down 14-10 late in the fourth quarter, a scrambling Eli Manning launched a prayer of a 3rd-and-20 pass 32-yards downfield in the direction of David Tyree. The rarely-used and tightly-covered Tyree made a leaping grab, pinning the ball against his helmet. Instead of 4th-and-forever, the catch allowed the Giants to move the chains and eventually score with 18 seconds left. The Giants stunned the Pats 17-14 in one of the big game's biggest upsets.

8) Super Bowl XLIII -- James Harrison's 100-yard halftime stroll

February 1, 2009 - Seconds before halftime, Kurt Warner was riding momentum and closing in on a 14-10 lead when he dropped back to pass. However, James Harrison dropped into coverage and picked off Warner. His adventurous 100-yard rumble resulted in a 14-point swing and a 17-7 lead for the Steelers.

9) Super Bowl XLIIIBig Ben phones Holmes

February 1, 2009 - Two plays on this list from the same game emphasize how great this Super Bowl was. With 35 ticks left on the clock, and the Steelers down 23-20 to the Cardinals, Roethlisberger fired a ball through three defenders as Santonio Holmes touched two feet down for a thrilling victory and the team's sixth Lombardi.

10) Super Bowl XLIXSeahawks almost super again

February 1, 2005 - After the Patriots rallied from 10 points down to take a 28-24 lead, Jermaine Kearse made a masterful and awe-inspiring catch of 33 yards that’s worthy of inclusion on this list. The catch was initially batted by Malcolm Butler and hit Kearse's hands four times while he came down on his back and reeled it in.

11) Super Bowl XLIXThe Butler did it

With :26 remaining in that same game, the Seahawks defied conventional wisdom and passed on the 1-yard line instead of handing off to Marshawn Lynch. When Russell Wilson slung the short pass toward the end zone, the rookie Butler sprang up and made the game-saving pick.

12) Super Bowl LIJulian's Gem

February 6, 2017 - Julian Edelman was worried that he dropped the ball and failed to execute one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl History. With 2:28 to play in the fourth quarter and the Pats down 28-20, Tom Brady threw a 23-yard pass from his own 36 that was tipped by Falcon Robert Alford into a trio of Atlanta defenders and Edelman. The Pats receiver tipped the ball up inches from the ground and pulled it in for an improbable first down. This play led to a Pats’ score and two-point conversion to send the game to the Super Bowl's first-ever OT, where the Pats triumphed 34-28.

Alan Faneca not the only Steelers player to get snubbed prior to the Super Bowl

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 5:37am

During the annual NFL Awards, a pair of Steelers were snubbed for recognition.

It’s a tradition for the Pro Football Hall of Fame to announce their upcoming class on the day before the Super Bowl. This tradition continued prior to Super Bowl 52, and the list of names started to be released both on social media and on television.

Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers waited to see Alan Faneca’s name show up — but it never did.

The 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class:
- Randy Moss
- Ray Lewis
- Brian Urlacher
- Brian Dawkins
- Terrell Owens
- Jerry Kramer
- Robert Brazile
- Bobby Beathard pic.twitter.com/IDspEKd6qe

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 3, 2018

For the third straight year, Faneca has been named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, only to come up short yet again. The Hall of Fame class of 2018 is loaded with former superstars: Ray Lewis, Terrell Owens, Brian Dawkins, Brian Urlacher and Randy Moss. All very deserving, but it seems as if the voting has turned away from the grit and strength of the linemen, and is targeting the skill positions and more high-profile players.

This tweet by former lineman by Shaun O’Hara sums it up well:

Still trying to understand how not one OL made it on this years HOF Class. Just flat out disrespectful to some of the best to have EVER played OL #HOF2018 #MushroomSociety

— Shaun O'Hara (@ShaunOHara60) February 4, 2018

Again, all who will be enshrined are deserving, but convincing me Faneca doesn’t deserve a goal jacket would be a gigantic waste of time.

A pretty disappointing way for fans to start their evening, but it only got worse as the NFL Honors kicked off with one very deserving member of the Steelers vying for Offensive Player of the Year honors, and possibly some Most Valuable Player votes.

This would be none other than Antonio Brown.

Brown didn’t receive a single vote for MVP, and was labeled as a ‘distant second’ in the Offensive Player of the Year voting.

The following tweets sum it up well:

Antonio Brown (@AB84) was the only unanimous AP All-Pro this year, yet he didn't get a single vote for the AP MVP and finished a 'distant second' for AP Offensive Player of the Year. Does this make sense to anyone?

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) February 4, 2018

HOW DOES @AB84 NOT WIN?! Who votes for this? Obviously they don’t catch @steelers games cuz my dude balled every time he stepped on the field! #NFLHonors

— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) February 4, 2018

So, to recap, Alan Faneca is again denied enshrinement into the Hall of Fame, and Antonio Brown’s amazing season again goes unnoticed at the national level. Some might call this par for the course for the Steelers, and I would have to agree.

Pitt's Aaron Donald named NFL defensive player of the year

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 10:40pm

Former Pitt standout Aaron Donald, now with the Los Angeles Rams, Saturday became the first pure defensive tackle to win The Associated Press NFL defensive player of the year award since 1999.

Eight get NFL Hall of Fame call

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 10:09pm

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — There will be no Pittsburgh connection in the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class.

Kuechly wins Art Rooney Sr. Award

Steelers.com News - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 6:30pm
Annual award recognizes a player who best demonstrates on-field sportsmanship.

Super Bowl 52: Experts all-in on the Patriots claiming their second-straight Super Bowl win

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 1:48pm

Much to the dismay of many, NFL experts are riding the Patriots heading into Super Bowl 52.

This shouldn’t shock anyone, but NFL Experts are all-in on the New England Patriots beating the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 52 for their sixth Super Bowl title in franchise history, and their second straight championship.

Like most Philadelphia fans, and many across the NFL landscape, they are left with thoughts of “What if Carson Wentz were healthy?”

Indeed, if Wentz were healthy and starting this game, you would be seeing a tremendous matchup between two teams who certainly have the pedigree to back up playing on the NFL’s largest stage.

Nick Foles, however? Meh, not so much.

Foles proved in the NFC Championship game against the Minnesota Vikings he is capable, but the Super Bowl is a unique beast. Mistakes are magnified, and anything but a four quarter performance likely means your team will be watching the opponent hoist the Lombardi trophy — just ask the Atlanta Falcons.

So, the experts are banking on the Patriots, who are 4.5-point favorites in Super Bowl 52, to win this game. How many experts are leaning towards New England? Our friends at NFL Pick Watch, a website which calculates and tabulates all expert picks across the internet and compiles them into one chart, has 74-percent of experts taking Tom Brady and the boys.

I, nor anyone else who follows the NFL, is shocked by this at all, but what is perplexing is the high percentage. To me, it is a proverbial slap-in-the-face of a very good Philadelphia defense, anchored by Fletcher Cox. When you look at the past struggles of Brady and company in the Super Bowl, it has been a defensive front which has wreaked havoc in the New England backfield.

Philadelphia has that kind of defensive front.

Nonetheless, I guess when it comes to the old adage of “Defense wins championship”, the experts are going with the offense. Is there an upset in the works? Possibly, but the experts aren’t buying it.

The prospect of the Patriots tying the Steelers with 6 Super Bowl titles shouldn’t bother fans

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 11:45am

The prospect of the Patriots tying the Steelers with six Super Bowl titles doesn't concern me as much as I thought it would.

Judging by the reaction to my James Harrison playing with the Patriots article, I know what you might say:

"Oh, 'I'm not sweating it, but I'm going to write an article about how I'm not sweating it.'" Or, "Gee, must be a slow news day, so let's post some click-bait."

Anymore? I think I got all the snark covered.

Anyway, unlike my disconnected feeling on Harrison joining the Patriots after getting cut by the Steelers and then ascending to the cusp of his third ring, I'm guessing you're more interested in the prospects of New England winning a sixth Lombardi and tying Pittsburgh for the most in the history of the universe.

Mere hours before the Patriots take on the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, that thought has to be on your mind, and as painful as it has to be for you, you're mustering up the stomach to root for a team from Philadelphia in the hopes it can prevent that from happening.

Civic pride is at stake. "Got six?" is on the line.

While I don't blame you for feeling nervous about this Sunday's Super Bowl, or even avoiding it in favor of Netflix binge-watching, I'm not as concerned as I thought I'd be.

Yes, it would be a shot to the pride bone if the Patriots, who are 4.5-point favorites as of this writing, finish the weekend with the same amount of Super Bowls as our Steelers—not to mention the most Lombardi trophies for one head coach and one quarterback (both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady would simply tie the marks they set a year ago), it wouldn't exactly endanger my chances of waking up Monday morning.

I know this because I grew up in the 1980's, when four Super Bowl titles was the biggest source of Pittsburgh sports pride. Back then, four was today's six, and there were concerns that a team from out west, namely the San Francisco 49ers, would tie the Steelers for the most Lombardi trophies.

Unfortunately, despite fielding teams consisting of the likes of Bubby Brister, Bryan Hinkle and Dwayne Woodruff, the Steelers of the 80's not only couldn't win that one for the thumb, they couldn't do much about the Bill Walsh/Joe Montana-led 49ers earning one for the pinkie finger following the 1989 season.

I don't remember much angst about it. I mean, there was a little, but since this was well-before the age of social media, the angst seemed to be washed away by thoughts of finishing high school and being productive for the rest of my life.

Five years later, when I was still trying to find a way to be productive, the 49ers—this time led by George Seifert and Steve Young—set a new Super Bowl standard by having their way with a pretty pathetic Chargers team that somehow found a way to walk into Pittsburgh and walk away with the AFC crown.

A year later, the Cowboys tied San Francisco with five Super Bowl victories by defeating, of all teams, the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX.

While I can recall feeling a bit sad and even somewhat perturbed at quarterback Neil O'Donnell, I don't think I was that upset about the Steelers being one game behind two teams in the Lombardi race.

Pittsburgh remained a game behind for a decade, that is, until Super Bowl XL, when the Steelers created a three-way tie with a 21-10 victory over the Seahawks.

Three years later, Harrison "ran" 100 yards, Ben Roethlisberger connected with Santonio Holmes for a spectacular touchdown, and the Steelers were not only Super Bowl XLIII champions, they were the winningest Lombardi team of all-time with six of them.

Much like the 80's, this has been an ongoing source of pride for Steelers fans the past nine seasons.

Will "Got six?" continue to be a source of pride moving forward?

Again, if the chalk holds this Sunday in Minnesota, no, it won't.

But while I may be contradicting myself by writing about something I supposedly don't care about; and while it may, in-fact, be a slow news day, the amount of titles my team owns has never really bothered me that much.

Why?

For starters, the Packers and Bears, owners of 13 and nine NFL titles, respectively, can always raise their collective hands and say, "Um, excuse me?" whenever any championship argument takes place.

Also, I'll just bet, judging by the endless amount of people who attended it, the fans who came to celebrate the Steelers very first Super Bowl title in January of 1975 probably didn't give one bit of a darn that they were still far behind both Green Bay and Chicago in the championship race.

And when I jumped into my uncle's arms in the aftermath of Super Bowl XL, the last thing on my mind was that Pittsburgh had tied San Francisco and Dallas with five Super Bowls.

While Super Bowl supremacy is a source of pride, it's also quite fluid.

Next year—or five years from now—if the Steelers finally capture that one for the other middle finger (if the thumb was the desired digit for number five, shouldn't the other middle finger be the designated digit for Seventh Heaven?), I'm guessing nobody will be keeping score of who has the most Lombardi trophies.

But with all that being said, Mr. Nick Foles, quarterback of the Eagles, if you could deliver an MVP performance this Sunday, gee, that would be swell.

Le'Veon Bell says some Steelers weren't ready for playoff loss

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 10:52am

The Steelers’ poor performance in the playoff loss against Jacksonville last month has brought plenty of criticism  from outsiders during Super Bowl week. Now one of the team’s stars is questioning their effort, too. 

Jerome Bettis talks about how the Steelers offense needs Le’Veon Bell to be effective

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 9:40am

The legendary Steelers running back talks about how important Le’Veon Bell is to the team’s offense

There are some, not many but some, who think the Pittsburgh Steelers would be just fine without Le’Veon Bell. Essentially believing any able bodied running back could step in and do all the things Bell does, at a fraction of the cost.

Then there are those who think the Steelers’ offense has enough playmakers outside of Bell where it wouldn’t require a running back with the dual threat capabilities, and at a fraction of the cost.

Yes, most of these feelings come back to money and the team having to fork out a ton of cash to keep Bell in Pittsburgh for the long-term. However, to those who believe these fallacies, I say ‘humbug’.

The Steelers absolutely need Le’Veon Bell for a plethora of reasons, the most important being he opens things up other playmakers. This is exactly what Jerome Bettis said while on radio row recently when talking to NFL Network’s Dave Dameshek.

Check out the video/audio below:

"Scale of 1-to-10, how much do the 2018 @steelers need @L_Bell26?" @JeromeBettis36 says... pic.twitter.com/kflthrLJyD

— Dave Dameshek (@Dameshek) February 3, 2018

When asked, on a scale from 1-10, how important it was for Bell to return to the team, Bettis didn’t hesitate when saying ‘10’ emphatically.

Bettis has his opinion, and so do Steelers fans. So, I ask you the same question Bettis was asked: On a scale from 1-10, how important is it for Le’Veon Bell to be back in Pittsburgh next season? Feel free to leave your answers in the comment section below, and, by the way, I agree with Bettis — 10.

JuJu Smith-Schuster’s ‘finger’ another example of Steelers’ big brother complex with Patriots

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 8:05am

Call it playful, call it all in good fun, but the prank JuJu Smith-Schuster pulled with the kid wearing a Patriots jersey this week shows why New England owns the Steelers’ minds.

To the victor, goes the spoils.

New England is once again on the cusp of taking another Super Bowl title back to Foxboro, and 30 other teams have to sit around and watch it go down this Sunday in Minneapolis.

Sadly, the other option is that Philadelphia wins the big game Sunday and we will have to put up with their fans who could be the worst human beings walking the planet.

Unless, of course, you are a Patriots fan.

How anybody can watch this game and root for either team is pure torture.

I, for one, may pass on this game Sunday. Seriously, who can stomach to think of either team winning. I wonder if that was what went through the mind of JuJu Smith-Schuster mid-week when he took a photo with a young kid wearing a New England Patriots jersey.

And gave a subtle middle-finger salute in the process. If you didn’t see it, you can see it below:

rt when you see it pic.twitter.com/n3t2PXz87S

— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) January 30, 2018

I’m not sure where Smith-Schuster was at the time, but he was with a team of video people doing things young people with money do these days, and that’s blast social media with useless video clips to waste time on while at work.

The drop of the bird by Schuster probably played well with Steelers Nation, who never misses a chance to punk out their rivals. But isn’t that what you do when you are always second best to somebody? I guess in this case the Steelers aren’t even 2nd best in the AFC. Jacksonville got the best of them twice. If anybody deserves the middle finger its the Jags who punked the black-and-gold twice at Heinz Field.

But who are we kidding.

The dominance of the Patriots over Pittsburgh the past 16 years is obvious, and it doesn’t take much to understand the psychology behind it all. When you get beat so often by an opponent, one who torments you at every chance encounter either by dominating you on the field, or by rules being enforced due to bad rules and pure fate, you will take any opportunity to take a swipe at them.

And on the 8th day the lord said, flip them the bird.

And Steelers Nation saw that it was good.

Well, not entirely.

The post on Twitter made quite a splash around Pittsburgh sports media, along with the national pundits chirping in. Smith-Schuster is only 21. He had, by all accounts, a very fine rookie season. His play only got better as the year went on. His effort late in the 4th quarter vs. New England was the sole reason the Steelers had a chance at winning that game.

But surviving the ground didn’t happen.

Nor did surviving the Patriots.

But we knew all that didn’t we? And so did Smith-Schuster. Hence the flipping off of the Patriots fan who was the innocent bystander in all this.

And you say the Steelers are not consumed, or obsessed, with the Patriots?

I don’t fault Smith-Schuster for what he did. It’s normal to do this to your tormentor. It’s like waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat over a traumatic experience.

Here’s to Smith-Schuster, and the rest of the Steelers, flipping off New England come Sunday. Win or lose. It’s only natural to think it helps the Steelers as they watch a game they should have been playing in.

Although he’s a secret member of the Galactic Empire sworn to chase down Jedi Scum across the suburban Pittsburgh landscape, John Phillips manages to find time to write opinion columns for BTSC. A task he’s revered since 2014.

Face Time: Hilton 'just getting started'

Steelers.com Videos - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 8:00am
Missi Matthews sits down with Mike Hilton to find out what motivates him and which veteran helped him in his first year with the team.

Gene Collier: Could ex-Pitt star Dion Lewis replace Le'Veon Bell?

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 7:00am

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — For all of the uber-talented football players who’ve constructed New England’s great and shady dynasty, few if any have done something that caused architect Bill Belichick to break into a broad smile and jump with delight.

Who was the Pittsburgh Steelers worst starter in 2017?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 6:25am

After a promising season ended in disappointment, we ponder who was the team’s worst starter in 2017?

The 2017 Steelers accomplished their best record since 2004, but even after finishing with 13 wins, the Steelers still couldn’t make it out of the Divisional round of the AFC Playoffs. Injuries forced some players that weren’t ready to play into the starting line-up. Others saw their talent regress.

But who was the team’s worst starter in 2017? Let’s see who qualifies...

Sean Spence

Brought in after Ryan Shazier went down, it was made very apparent why Spence wasn’t on an NFL roster from his first start. Baltimore ran the ball down the Steelers’ throat, calling many stretch run plays to Spence’s side. According to Pro-Football Focus, Spence graded out at an abysmal 26.2 out of a possible 100. If Shazier cannot play again, the Steelers desperately need to fill this ILB spot.

Sean Davis

Davis led the Steelers with 92 tackles, however, he missed another 24. Davis struggled in the open field to get carriers to the ground. In what was probably his worst game of the season, against Green Bay, Davis missed the tackle which led to long Packer touchdown. In a game that should have never been close, 40+ yard plays kept the Green Bay Packers in the game. Davis will need to improve, or the 2016 2nd round pick could be replaced before his rookie contract expires.

Bud Dupree

One of the streakiest players on the team. When Dupree got hot he was hard to block, just look at his game vs. Cincinnati in Week 7. With a Sack and a few QB pressures, Dupree appeared to break out. Unfortunately, he was unable to keep the hot streak going. At of the time writing this, it appears unlikely that the Steelers will pick up Dupree’s 5th-year option. Though Dupree’s stats have trended upward, he’s going to have to have more than 6 sacks in 2018 if he wants to remain a member of the black-and-gold.

Coty Sensabaugh

Sensabaugh was a large reason for the increase of big plays allowed. After Joe Haden went down, Sensabaugh had numerous wide-outs run past him. He played himself out of the starting spot, as rookie Cameron Sutton took over CB duties after just 5 starts.

Mike Mitchell

When your defense has a problem with allowing a lot of big plays, most of the blame is going to fall on the safeties. Mitchell is the only player to not have a failing grade, according to Pro-Football Focus, on this list. However, for his price tag and for the number of times the defense got burnt, Mitchell finds himself on this list. With Mitchell owed over 7-million dollars in 2018, he likely becomes a cap casualty.

...

Clearly these guys all play on the defensive side of the ball. The Steelers offense is so talented, many football fans consider the unit the game’s best. But if the Steelers front office can’t plug the gaps in the defense this team may be remembered for having some of the best talent to never win a Super Bowl.

Now it’s your turn.

Why it is time for Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers to go silent and just get a deal done

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 4:55am

There has been a lot of talk coming from Le’Veon Bell, and maybe he should just go silent and get a deal done.

Am I the only one who hears these reports and comments made by Le’Veon Bell regarding how much money he wants and thinks, “Look, we get it, you want a lot of money...why not just be quiet and get a deal done?!”

Bell might be thinking the Steelers are following his comments closely, and they likely are, but they won’t be phased by comments made to the media. What they will be focused on are actual discussions going on between Bell’s representatives.

To be quite honest, I’m not sure what Bell is getting out of publicly talking about what he wants and demands in a potential long-term contract. Bell bet on himself in 2017, but what did he prove in the process? His yards per rush, and yards per reception, numbers went down, and he has over 400 more touches on his frame.

Although Bell proved to be as dynamic as ever, and deserves to be paid as a top running back and second wide receiver, it is likely the Steelers don’t go too much higher than the reported offer Bell rejected last year.

With that said, at what point does Bell, and company, go ‘dark’ and just get a deal done? My guess is after the Super Bowl. Once cameras and microphones aren’t in front of him at every turn, is when the two parties will really dig down and try to figure out the numbers that will keep No. 26 in Pittsburgh for the long term.

Will a deal get done before the reported February 20th deadline? It seems there is plenty work to be done before that finally happens.

Time to check in on other news surrounding the Steelers outside the walls of BTSC...

Well, we apparently know one team Le’Veon Bell won’t consider playing for.

After a Twitter user pleaded for Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell to come play for the Jets, Bell shot the idea down.

The fan said he’d give Bell $60 million cash to come play for the Jets.

Bell’s response? “That ain’t enough.”

It was a trying January for LeBron James. The NBA star’s Cleveland Cavaliers lost six of seven at one point and are closer to the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot than they are to the No. 1 seed.

Drama has enveloped the Cavs, and many are beginning to wonder whether James’ days with his hometown team are numbered. The hot NBA rumors involve where James could play in 2018-19 and beyond.

Back with the Heat? The Lakers? The Warriors? The Steelers?

Wait, what?

JuJu Smith-Schuster suggested as much.

Sales of Super Bowl tickets on StubHub were up 66 percent compared to last year’s rate six days from kickoff, according to data the online ticket broker released Tuesday.

StubHub reports that the average ticket price for the 2,300 tickets listed on its site for Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis is $5,415, and the “get in” price is $3,500. The least expensive ticket sold to date? One in the upper corner of U.S. Bank Stadium for $2,350.

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