Inside Pittsburgh Sports

MONDAY BUZZ COLUMN

Who do you like in Super Bowl 51?

The Steelers are a better bet than the Broncos according to the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas. They are 8-1. The Broncos are 14-1.

You can also get 8-1 on the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.

The Carolina Panthers are 10 to 1.

The Steelers are in pretty good company with the Patriots and the Seahawks, but do they belong in that company?

And do you like the Steelers’ chances of winning the Super Bowl better than the Carolina Panthers’ who are 22-5 since Week 14 of the 2014 season and will be bringing back the league MVP to play quarterback?

Von Miller, Super Bowl 50’s MVP, is an unrestricted free agent and the Broncos aren’t letting him go, which means their defense will start the 2016 season as the best in the league.

Everybody around the NFL loves the Steelers offense and the wise guys in Vegas seem to love it just as much. And why shouldn’t they?

If Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’ Veon Bell are healthy, they are just about unstoppable.

But everybody may also like the Steelers’ defense a little too much.

It played a lot better than anybody expected it could but it ran into six consecutive backup quarterbacks in weeks 10 through 15.

Could the Steelers’ offense have done better than the Panthers’ offense against the Broncos yesterday?

Good chance.

After watching Cam Newton gag Sunday, I think it’s fair to say that Roethlisberger is a better quarterback than he is and Roethlisberger put up some good numbers against the Broncos. Although they played without most of their starting defensive backfield in the regular season game.

I have to admit that I didn’t see a lot off Newton during the regular season, but I did see his highlights and his stats and I called him the best quarterback in the league.

I changed my mind. Not only do I think Roethlisberger is better, I wouldn’t take Newton over Russell Wilson of Seattle.

Yeah,that was a great defense Newton played against yesterday, but he overthrew some wide open receivers. He gagged.

But, if you’re going to bet on the Steelers winning Super Bowl 51, you’re betting on a defense that wasn’t nearly as good as it looked the second half of the season.

That’s a defense that will have to face the Patriots, Cowboys and Giants at home next season, not to mention the Bengals, who had them beaten with A.J. McCarron at quarterback and the Ravens, who beat them with Ryan Mallet.

The Broncos won’t have Peyton Manning next year, but he had little or nothing to do with their Super Bowl win on Sunday.

They look like a better than 14-1 bet to at least make it to Super Bowl 51.

They also look like a better bet than the Steelers right now.


johnston

Johnston had lots to do with Crosby’s struggles, players admit to having fun again

-Do you think Sidney Crosby’s back? Do you think his former coach, Mike Johnston, might have had something to do with his embarrassingly low production over the first two months of the season?

Since Johnston was fired on December 13th, Crosby has played 22 games. He’s scored 16 goals with 14 assists.

Thirty points in 22 games is an average of 1.36 points per game.

Crosby’s career average before the season was 1.36.

Last season, with Johnston as his coach, Crosby averaged 1.09 points per game- low for him but the best in the league.

Crosby [hide] appears to everybody to be on fire right now and he is compared to where he was at the beginning of the season, but it should tell you just how good he is when you consider that he has produced even more points per game over his previous 10 seasons than he has during this hot streak.

In his last 10 games, Crosby has 10 goals and eight assists. That’s a Lemieux-like 1.8 points per game.

That should stop the “Take away the C” talk for a while.

Kris Letang said on Monday that he’s having more fun playing under his new coach, Mike Sullivan and you can see why.

He’s played 16 games for Sullivan and has eight goals and 16 assists. That’s 24 points – 1.50 per game.

He had one goal and 13 assists in 25 games under Johnston.

The decision to change coaches on December 13th looks like a pretty good one right now.[/hide]