Welcome to another edition of Opposition Research, where I’ll be taking a look at the next Packers opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are 10 months removed from a Super Bowl victory, and will be 41 days removed from a regular season victory when the Packers visit Heinz Field on Sunday afternoon. In 1969, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced a model mapping the stages of human grief. The discrete five-stage model, which shows the transition from denial to acceptance, may shed some light on how the Steelers are approaching this Week 15 match-up.
Knowing as little about the AFC as I do, I checked in earlier this week with a friend of mine, Aviel, who is as hardcore a fan of the Steelers as I am of the Packers. More so, in fact, since she went to the 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers Women's Training Camp (dear Packers, please have one of these). I expect that I'll pick her brain when the Steelers-Packers game approaches, but this week, she offered an AFC North insider's look at the Baltimore Ravens.
There's only been one regular season game, and already, the rolls of players lost for the 2009 season are already filling up. We've been hearing all week that the marquee matchup between the Bears and Steelers is marred by significant injuries to All-Pro S Troy Polamalu (lost for 6 weeks) and LB Brian Urlacher (lost for season). The standard doomsday questions abound: are the Steelers in danger of losing their spot atop the AFC North? (If they are, it's not because of this.) Will this mean the Bears and Jay Cutler will run wild? (Highly unlikely.) With Urlacher out, are the Bears still Super Bowl contenders? (No, Peter King, but they never really were.) Will the Bears' misery ever end? (Oh, I hope not.)
Well, now there's news coming out of San Diego today that Chargers DT Jamal Williams has been placed on injured reserve with a triceps injury. Like the Packers, the Chargers run a 3-4 defensive scheme, and an injury to the big man in the middle is going to put the Chargers in an even tougher spot than they already were going into this week's game against the Baltimore Ravens.
"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."