Well, I totally blew it on my football predictions for the NFC and AFC title games. I thought that Denver was for real and Jake the Snake would finally shrug off his Peyton Manning-like tendencies to blow big games. I also thought that Seattle would not have enough weapons to match Carolina and Steve Smith.
Wrong, and wrong.
So now we have the Pittsburgh Steelers -a team that in these playoffs have beaten the Bengals, the Colts and the Bronco's on the road- facing the Seattle Seahawks, who had two playoff games at home against two beat down teams in Washington and Carolina. I still don't think the Seahawks have been tested yet, but their offensive line is definitely for real. Yes, Shaun Alexander is an excellent running back, but I could probably run for a thousand yards in a season behind that offensive line. It sure is fun to be a running back when the people who are supposed to tackle you are all laying down on the ground.
I think Seattle is about to find out why the AFC is as dominant as it has been over the last few years. Pittsburgh is a team that exemplifies what teams need to be able to do to win the AFC championship. On offense you need to run the ball effectively (Willie Parker, Jerome Bettis-check), have a passing game with a deep threat and a third and long threat (Antwaan Randal El and Hines Ward-check), and a quarterback who has some playoff experience in big games (Ben Roethilsberger, who lost to the Patriots in last years AFC championship game-check). On defense you need to just wreak havoc with the opponents offense and take them out of their game (James Farrior, Troy Palomalu-check), ask Peyton and Jake about those two-they sure remember them.
As far as Seattle goes, they haven't had to play a complete game yet. To beat the Redskins they had to stop a banged up Clinton Portis and slow down the sloth-like Mark Brunell, and then let their offensive line pummel Washingtons defense. Against Carolina they had to stop Steve Smith, and, well, Steve Smith. Carolina's defense was out of gas by the second quarter, and the Seattle O-Line pretty much had thei way with them. Again, Alexander is an incredible back, but I could put just about any NFL starting running back behind that O-Line and they too would look pretty damn good.
I think that the Seahawks are short at least two important offensive weapons -no deep threat, and an unproven playoff quarterback- and defensively haven't played a team with the offensive depth that the Steelers have.
It probably won't be a blow out, and Bill Cowher will have his chances to completely screw it up, but I believe that Jerome "Homecoming" Bettis and the Pittsburgh Stellers are going to deliver the Lombardi trophy to Pennsylvania this year.
Final Score: Steelers 34, Seattle 13.