by JJ Cooper
One of the great things about football is how much there is to analyze. We could debate whether Phillip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger is a better quarterback, we could argue about whether LaDainian Tomlinson is finished or just a little banged up, or we could discuss how the Chargers will handle the Steelers' zone-blitz scheme.
The top sports headlines of the day
But if you want to see the easiest barometer to decide whether the Steelers will succeed on Sunday, it can be boiled down to this: if the Steelers can protect Roethlisberger and keep him from being sacked, they should win. If they can't, all bets are off.
The Steelers had 176 offensive drives during the regular season (not counting end of half or end of game drives where the Steelers simply kneeled on the ball). The scored on 62 of them. In other words, when the Steelers got the ball, they had roughly a one-in-three chance of putting points on the board. But if at any point during the drive, Ben Roethlisberger was sacked, their chance of scoring dropped to roughly 1-in-7. Although the sample size is too small to be worth much, it's worth noting that when the Steelers had a sack on a drive, there was a 1-in-20 chance that the opposing team would score on the sack.
Analyzing the Playoffs: Biggest Key to the Steelers-Chargers' Game Is the Steelers' Line originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Fri, 09 Jan 2009 09:03:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.