I noted a few weeks ago that Denver's Mike Shanahan was a very good coach when you gave him two weeks to prepare for an opponent. Unfortunately, Shanahan proved me right, and the Steelers lost.
What about Brian Billick? Billick took over the Ravens in mid-January of 1999. Let's take a look at how his teams have done coming out of the BYE Week since '99:
1999 = L 35-8 vs. Kansas City
2000 = W 24-3 vs. San Diego
2001 = L 26-21 vs. Pittsburgh!
2002 = W 34-23 vs. Denver
2003 = W 26-18 vs. Arizona
2004 = W 20-6 vs. Buffalo
2005 = W 13-3 vs. New York Jets
2006 = W 35-22 vs. New Orleans
2007 = ????
Hopefully Billick will look as sheepish this Monday as he did on Match Game in 1977
That's 6-2 and 5 straight for those of you keeping score at home. Now keep in mind it's nothing extraordinary to win football games that you have two weeks to prepare for. In fact, you better do so if you're worth a damn as a head coach.
Still, it's unfortunate that we've landed two tough teams on our schedule that are coming out of their BYE week. I'm sure Tomlin would preach about relishing the challenge, but I don't have to motivate a room full of men. I just have to be a fan and speculate. I already had this game circled as a measuring stick for what this team is made up of physically and mentally, but I am even more convinced, after looking at Billick's career track-record, that this game will help determine if this team's got what DaTruth calls 'DaGoods.'