Thursday, December 06, 2007

"Experts" Begin to Weigh In

Now that Anthony Smith has made his prediction a matter of public record, an NFL expert, whose opinions are respected, has made his feelings known.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated is picking the Steelers, and here's why:

"Five reasons:
    1. A.J. Feeley and Kyle Boller have put up 52 points on the Patriots the last two weeks; Ben Roethlisberger won't make the kind of late-game mistakes those two backups did.
    2. Brian Westbrook and Willis McGahee have rushed for 190 yards on the Pats the last two weeks. I'm not in love with Willie Parker's recent rushing numbers -- 52, 81 and 87 yards, against three straight sub-.500 teams -- but I think the Patriots will be vulnerable against a power running game.
    3. Pats are tired after three straight night games, including the emotional Monday-nighter in frigid Baltimore. Bill Belichick didn't even practice them Wednesday, an incredible rarity with a Sunday game upcoming.
    4. Hines Ward's will to win. The dude leads the league in it.
    5. Just a gut feeling. The strain of going for perfection seems to be wearing on New England, while Pittsburgh is just bullyish enough not to fear the
    enormity of Sunday's stage
    ."


At 10:00PM (EST) on Thursday 65% of those voting online disagreed with Mr. King's choice -- the closest vote of all the games.

Meanwhile, during halftime of the Thursday night game on the NFL Network (Bears v. Redskins) Patriots' safety Rodney Harrison took the high road saying only that "we have tremendous amount of respect for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and we know that they're an aggressive, physical team that's on a role right now."

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