Sports columnists Gary Shelton and John Romano discuss today's AFC title game:
JR: Gary, I just saw vultures flying outside the stadium in Pittsburgh. I didn't realize these defenses left crumbs behind.
GS: Those aren't crumbs, John. Those are bits of Norv Turner's resume.
JR: Ah, I thought it might have been chunks of Jeff Fisher's reputation. At various times this season, folks thought Tennessee or Tampa Bay or some other pretender had the best defense in the NFL. Do we find out the truth today?
GS: You betcha. You can measure defenses through yards, and you can measure them through points. But the best defenses are the ones that stop the most crucial drives. If the Ravens upset the Steelers, it will be because of defense. If the Steelers win, it will be because of defense. You should have to wear a cast to cover this game.
JR: The lowest-scoring AFC Championship Game in history was when Houston beat San Diego 10-3 on Christmas Eve, 1961, which I believe you covered. Does this one have a chance to go lower?
GS: An age joke? I would get angry over that, except that I might fall and break my hip. But yeah, this could be low scoring. Consider this, Sonny: Last week, the Titans compiled almost 400 yards of total offense against the Ravens, and last week, the Steelers offense looked as good as it has all year. Combine the two, and I think the Steelers could break loose for 11 points.
JR: The Ravens have a couple of players — Ray Lewis and Ed Reed — who will go down as two of the very best at their positions, yet I still think Pittsburgh's defense is a little more lethal. Maybe it's because of Troy Polamalu, maybe it's Dick LeBeau, or maybe I'm just an imbecile.
GS: I agree with you. Pittsburgh is just a touch better. Also, you're an imbecile.