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2017 Opponent Scouting Report: Week 10, Steelers Special Teams, Nobody Will Read Because, Vontae Davis.

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Overview

On November 12, 2017, the Indianapolis Colts will host the Pittsburgh Steelers. In this Week 10 match-up, I sought to understand our opponent and get a better idea for what we were up against.

The Steelers finished 2016 with 11 wins and 5 losses. One of those wins came against our Colts while we were without Andrew Luck as he recovered from a concussion. This year we will be without Luck once again, but we've traded in Scott Tolzien for Jacoby Brissett. Hopefully, Mr. Brisket can lead us to a different result this time around.

Let’s figure out what we can expect in Week 7.


Kicker: Chris Boswell This Guy Seems Alright

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers went through four kickers during the 2015 season. So this team knows a thing or two about bad kickers, and Boswell was good enough for the Steelers to avoid signing a fifth.

So far he’s 18 for 20 on field goals and 100% on extra point tries.

One thing to note about Boswell is that his career long field goal is just 51 yards and he hasn’t made one from 50+ since 2015. So either the Steelers are just really good at getting the ball to the 30 yard line or Boswell just doesn’t have the leg for it. Either way, the Steelers have found a decent kicker, even if he’s only good from inside 50 yards.


Punter: Jordan Berry is Basically Just A Fan With A Contract

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Berry is what happens when you play receiver in high school (because you’re 6’5”) and you walk on at Eastern Kentucky only to discover that everyone is waaaaaay better than you and you don’t have a prayer to make the team. After this realization, something amazing happens, the teams punter breaks his kicking leg in a backwoods moonshine running accident (eastern Kentucky, after all) and your freakishly long legs happen to be able to punt the ball further than anyone else on the team.

Okay, so I made that story up, but it seems plausible given the fact that Berry isn’t good. He’s near the bottom of the league in every major punting stat. 42.4 average, 37. 5 net, a lot of touch backs and a 25th ranking for number of punts downed inside the 20.

The Steelers have built a good offense on paper, and I’m going to assume they believed it was easier to find offensive talent than a competent NFL punter so they went that route rather than embarking on the often exhausting punter hunt.


Returner: JuJu and AB

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers list both JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Bryant as their starting kick and punt returners, respectively. Which makes them the most talented return duo in the league.

With that said they aren’t the best.

JuJu is averaging just 11 yards per kick return and Brown is averaging 4.4 yards per punt return. You’ll probably also see wide receiver Eli Rogers return some of the many punts we send their way, and he’s only averaging 5.8 yards per. Running back Terrell Watson will probably see the bulk of the kick return duties (20.2 yards per). My guess is he’ll handle the return at either the start of the game or after half time, and we probably won’t see Watson otherwise.


Final Thoughts for The Week

With the news of Vontae Davis being released, this sure seems like it’s the start of Chuck losing the team. In the past, Vontae has sung the praises of Chuck and shown appreciation for the team and coaches that saved his career and righted the Vontae Davis ship.

If control of the team is beginning to slip, or if this is something else entirely (what else could it actually be?) this game will end up ugly either way. Hopefully we see some positive results and some young guys get some playing time.

Amazing that we never got to see Davis and Quincy Wilson on the field at the same time.


Prediction

Colts 6

Steelers 45


Draft Watch

This segment will keep an eye on our draft positioning as the year progresses. No, I’m not suggesting that we throw the season (even though our record is bad, Coach Herm was right, you play to win the game) or that we should all look forward to the draft, but we’re getting close to that point, to be honest. Rather I hope that this will allow us all to be aware of next off-season and realize how much our 2018 outlook can change from week to week.

I would like to point out a really cool site that covers the NBA, NHL and NFL: Tankathon. It has a funny name but it serves a cool purpose, weeding out tie breakers to show who is slated to draft where.

2018 Colts Draft Position Post Week Three:

5th Overall

The top 10 draft order is as follows:

  1. Browns
  2. 49ers
  3. Giants
  4. Buccaneers
  5. Colts
  6. Bengals
  7. Texans (Pick To Browns for Watson)
  8. Chargers
  9. Broncos
  10. Bears

The Browns and 49ers stand alone and while Tankathon lists the 49ers first overall I believe the Browns strength of schedule would actually give them the nod, either way, they both suck.

The Niners, I believe, will improve with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm and they may end up rattling off 2-4 wins by the end of the season. That said I don’t see us falling into the 2nd overall pick after our win in Houston.

The Giants play the 49ers this weekend and one of them will win. My pick is the home team pulls this one out (San Francisco), but it’s realistic to think the Giants will pick up their second win of the year. After that it’s ugly for the Giants as their only “winnable” game is at Oakland on 12/3 and I use “winnable” very loosely. We’re probably not going to finish worse than the G-Men.

The Bucs announced that they’re resting their starting QB Jameis Winston as they want to avoid an Indianapolis Colts-Andrew Luck situation and given that this is a lost season for them, it seems like the best thing they can do. Even without their starter their next five games don’t feature a single team with a record better than .500. They could eek out a win or two before the season is over.

In the next five games the Bengals will play the Broncos, Browns and Bears, oh my! The Bengals are a special kind of bad, what with the majority of their team healthy including the QB they’ve chosen to build their offense around. What that means is, they may win all three of those match ups or they may lose them all too. Wouldn’t surprise me. I do expect to see 1-2 wins in the next 5 weeks but who knows.

We saw the Texans last week; they looked pretty bad. With that said, they didn’t have time to plan for the loss of Deshaun Watson and it showed. Their next five games include two winnable ones as they play the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers. This is another situation where they could win or lose any number of the next five and I won’t be surprised. Hopefully for us they go on a winning streak.

The Chargers play the Browns and Redskins over the next 5 weeks. Otherwise things look bad in LA.

The Broncos play the Pats and follow it up with four straight against bad teams. The 4-4 Dolphins are their only opponent with a record of .500 in that span. They should get a win or two in this chunk of games.

The Bears... Who knows? In their next five the only team they play with a winning record are the 8-1 Philadelphia Eagles and outside of that they could win literally every game. Or maybe they lose them all too! That’s the most exciting thing about the Bears because they won their week 7 game attempting only 7 passes. This one could go either way.

Colts Fans, we play our next four against good teams and then we play the Broncos. I fully expect us to win one we shouldn’t against the Titans or Jaguars and drop the others. Hopefully we win them all and the team shows great growth over the last half of the season. If they don’t, I don’t see any way we draft outside of the top 10.

What an awful year of Colts football.