Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

NFL Thursday Night: Throw the Ball, Ben.

On Thursday night this week, the Pittsburgh Steelers will face the Tennessee Titans. Meh. Pittsburgh isn’t great at 2-2 this season while Tennessee is awful at 1-4. This won’t be close, nor will it be particularly interesting unless, of course,  you’re a Steelers or Titans fan.

However, you know what IS interesting? NFL statistics.

If you are a committed fantasy player you will know this as a matter-of-fact kind of thing. The on-site statisticians around the NFL make plenty of mistakes, but this week, you’d think the local stats folks were replacements.

Rashard Mendenhall

Here’s what the NFL released this week:

  • What originally was scored as a 13-yard touchdown run for Rashard Mendenhall now has been credited as a 13-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Mendenhall.
  • Frank Gore picks up two yards (and loses one carry) when a rush was changed to an aborted play.
  • A Darius Reynaud reception was changed to a Nate Washington reception, giving Washington an additional catch and 17 more yards.
  • One Peyton Manning completion to Demaryius Thomas was reduced in length by eight yards, affecting both players.
  • An Aaron Rodgers pass to Alex Green has been changed to a rush. Rodgers loses eight yards passing while Green picks up eight yards rushing.

For our fantasy-playing friends, some of those changes are huge. In most standard leagues, Roethlisberger gained 4.5 points and that could be the difference between a win and a loss in some games.

Here at Weekly Picks, we don’t make those kinds of mistakes. In fact, since the replacement refs were dumped, we’ve hardly made any mistakes at all. Don’t think for one second that officiating doesn’t make a difference on the outcome of NFL games. Based on our record alone, it’s made a huge difference.

The Doc went 12-3 straight up last week (43-34) and was also a stronger 9-5 against the spread (27-50). The Coach, meanwhile, continued to sizzle. He went 11-3 straight up (47-30) and 8-6 (34-43) against the spread and is, once again, ready to rip it up this week.

As usual, Dr. Football writes our rationalizations while The Coach does what he does best, sits back and makes sarcastic remarks.

Here’s a look at the Thursday night game of Week 6 in the NFL, live in Canada on Rogers SportsNet:

Chris Johnson: Where did he go?

THURSDAY NIGHT:

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) at Tennessee Titans (1-4)
Line: Steelers by 6.

Conventional wisdom might say that if Minnesota can score 30 points on an awful Titans team, what could the Steelers do? Not so fast…the Steelers have given up 65 points in their two losses so far this season, and are 2-7 all time on Tennessee soil. Rashard Mendenhall’s return didn’t create the spark that was expected last week, but look for more this week as Big Ben will toss a ton of work his way. The Coach says, “Just throw the freakin’ ball Ben.”

THE DOC: TAKE THE STEELERS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.

THE COACH: TAKE THE STEELERS TO WIN AND COVER.

Ben Roethlisberger

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