Saturday, February 04, 2006

Super Bowl XL Seahawks-Steelers

It's the fortieth renewal of the NFL championship and I've seen every game. I saw Super Bowl XVIII in person with my father. What a disappointment to travel so far and have the Redskins play so poor.

I am the sportswriter in one of my fantasy leagues, writing under the name Master4Caster. I developed a method to handicap the fantasy games and correctly predicted the winners 67% of the time. Can the same method be used to handicap real games? Well, no, not without making modifications. Fantasy games, and my forecasting method, principally measure offensive performance along with scoring. Real games do not count performance. Only scores count. Fantasy scoring under weight the effect of defense and it does not factor intangibles. Ironic that intangibles have weight in real games, but none in fantasy contests.

What fantasy scoring does well is measure contributions by individual players. Through that, it gives clues to who caused a victory. In theory, the team with the best yardage performance is in the best position to win.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will win the Super Bowl by three points according to Master4Caster's magic projection. A dominating defense and punishing ground game will allow Pittsburgh to control the ball. Seattle will start from poor field position most of the day. When they fall behind, Shawn Alexander will cease to be a factor. Seattle's passing game is more than capable. But, if they can be positioned to where they must pass to win, the Steelers defense will pressure Matt Hasselbeck into an error or two.

It's been fashionable in Washington to poor mouth Seattle. It's sour grapes. Redskins fans saw Seattle in week three when the Redskins won a close game. But Seattle got a whole lot better after that game. The Seahawks say they got better because of that game. They changed their blocking schemes. They relied more on the ground game. Darryl Robinson, who missed the first Redskins game, was healthy for the playoff game. The Seahawks returned to health by the playoff game, while the Redskins got a whole lot more hurt. The offense flat ran out of gas after winning six straight games to get there. Seattle deserved that win and deserves to be in the Super Bowl.

To beat the Steelers, they must get an early lead. That keeps Alexander involved, which makes the ground game more effective. The Seahawk defense is disruptive, as evidenced by fifty sacks and a high turnover differential on the season. They are small but athletic. All of those factors are useful when the Seahawks attack the other team's passing game. They are at a disadvantage against the run. Pittsburgh will run, especially if they get the lead. In that case, Seattle's defense will wear down by the end of the third quarter. To win, Seattle must jam the Steelers ground game and score early. Make Pittsburgh throw and they have a shot.

In those early Super Bowls, the team making its first appearance was tight, nervous and it showed. It's been a long while since we've seen a first timer. Seattle is that team and it will show.

As I tell my fantasy league, football isn't played on paper. It's played on television.






1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With the trades and acquisitions made going into the draft, plus the bulk of the team that is carried over from last season, and the trades and draft picks made during the draft, it sure seems like the Pats are going to be the team to beat in the AFC this season, and perhaps in all of the NFL.

Considering the Pats were almost in the Superbowl last season with a pathetic receiving corps and that they've added very talented players into said receiving corps this season, barring some nasty injury(ies), they look to be the team to take it all.I say injury(ies) because I think they could survive an injury or two to some positions, but if they lost Brady they'd probably have a hard time recovering.


I wish I could say that the Redskins did well in the draft and/or in free agency but so many holes still exist that I'm not sure they'll be significantly better than last season. I suppose on face they should be if they can keep their corners healthy. With Landry (argh, hard to type that name as a Redskin!!) back there with a healthy secondary they might be able to cheat up more and put more pressure on opposing QBs. Might.

They still have what should be a lot of talent in the receiving positions, and Campbell should be better, but they don't have the quality on either line (offense or defense) that I wish they'd have, so it could be yet another year of .500 at best, or worse.

Still, the NFC East looks to be the NFC Least again this season. None of the teams there look like they'll be that good, and none really look ready to step up and take the division.

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