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Beating the Book

Just wrote in Beating the Book that I disagreed with Mike Salfino about the shelf life of useful team stats. For example, in analyzing the Steelers' defense, he includes their poor showings vs. the Bengals and Ravens, while I start from the beginning of their run vs. the Vikings, Bears and Browns through the playoffs. Essentially, he believes that a team's quality is measured by longer term performance, and my take was the their current level of play is all that matters.

But thinking about it a little more, I think it's somewhere in between. I think the Steelers' defense has quite obviously jelled of late, and what we've seen is their "A" game. If they play their "A" game in the Super Bowl, then what they did against the Ravens won't be in evidence. But, those earlier games show how they are when all 11 are not on the same page, when something's not right with the game plan or the defensive alignment. And in that case, perhaps those games are instructive as to how they fare when they're not in sync. And the Seahawks do have the coaching staff and personnel to disrupt the Steelers' cohesiveness. (It's odd that normally we think of the defense disrupting the offense's cohesiveness, but I think it works both ways). The Colts couldn't do it - perhaps they didn't scout or prepare for them properly. The question is can the Seahawks - with that great offensive line and balanced attack, keep Pittsburgh's blitz at bay, and give Hasselbeck the comfort zone he needs to attack them down the field?