Although I am a diehard Giants fan, I must confess an admiration for the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise. Of course it is hard not to like them somewhat when you spent your college years surrounded by Steelers fans. But, you can’t help having respect for their players (except Santonio Holmes), fans, owner, and, most importantly, the style of football they play. I’ll take hard-nose, take no prisoners football over the “Greatest Show on Turf.”
I think that’s why I enjoy watching the Giants so much this year. Not only are they the defending Super Bowl champs, but they have gone back to focusing on Steelers-type football. Gone are the days of allowing Kerry Collins to air it out for 4,000 yards a year (as he did back in the early 2000s in between drinks). Everyone knows KC wasn’t a real quarterback, and the painful display against the Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV proved it. Now, the G-Men have gone back to what they were known for in the Parcells-era: a ferocious defense with a clock-controlling running game. Sounds like Steelers football to me.
Or, should we call it Giants-football, since, after all, the Giants are playing “Steelers-football” better than the Steelers themselves. We all know what happened last year with the Giants riding their defense and running game to a Super Bowl victory. Everyone also knows they did it in a way eerily similar to the Steelers latest title run, winning 3 straight road playoff games against higher seeds before winning the Super Bowl. Only, the Giants did it better than the Steelers, taking down an undefeated, 14-point favorite in the Super Bowl, a team many were ready to crown the best ever. Yeah, those Seahawks were real tough too.
This year is no different. Sure both teams are 5-1, but the Giants are doing it more Steeler-like than the Steelers. The Giants running game has been unstoppable so far this year. Ranking 1st in the NFL in yards per game, at 169.7, the have an unprecedented 3 headed attack in which their 2nd running back, Derrick Ward, averages 7.2 yards per rush. Their best back at the end of last season, Ahmad Bradshaw is only averaging 4 carries per game. Meanwhile the Steelers running game ranks a paltry 18th, averaging only 109.3 yards per game. Of course the Steeler defense has been quite impressive this year, ranking 1st in the league. However, the Giants defense is not too far behind, ranking 4th.
Ok, so maybe this isn’t the most lead-proof argument, but the Giants run-dominating attack and its tenacious defense clearly qualify it as a January football team. And as the defending Super Bowl champs, they have the track record to back it up and show that this isn’t an early-season fluke. Sure the Steelers have had a dominating defense thus far, but can it last the whole season? And what about that weak running game? Will they be able to rely on Big Ben and the passing game when the snow begins to fall? Clearly there are some question-marks that need answering before they punch their ticket to Tampa. The Giants? Well, if I had the funds, I would by buying my ticket right now…
But, right now all we are concerned about is October; January is not the issue. Recently the Giants lost to the Browns, in embarrassing fashion, snapping their NFL Record 12-game road winning streak. Look for them to start a new one today. With all the focus in Eli v. Ben this week, it will be the Giants running game that steals the show. Although the Steelers have handled the run this season, they have never seen the likes of “Earth, Wind, and Fire” in action. Get ready Steelers fans, its going to be a bumpy ride… G-Men 23 Steelers 20.
And regardless of what happens today, hope you can make it to Tampa. We’ll be waiting…
The author, Jon Perrelle, is a die-hard Giants fan that currently spends his days as a law student in Brooklyn.