The Steelers season last year ended in disappointment. Losing at home to the Jaguars in the divisional round. Usually they lose on the road to the Patriots, just kidding with you Steelers fans. The season the team from the city of the three rivers put together was overall pretty impressive and probably one bad call away from having home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Todd Haley is gone this year, hopefully that means Ben Roethlisberger will play better and not hate his OC. Mike Tomlins job as always is safe but the window is quickly closing on the Steelers if they want to chase there seventh franchise Super Bowl.
Leading the team will again be Ben Roethlisberger, the QB of the Steelers for the last decade and a half. You have to give it to Ben the guy never has a down year and almost always produces. Yes injuries pop up here and there for the vet but are never serious. The Steelers QB will have a reliable back up this year though in Mason Rudolph something the Steelers haven’t had in a while. Rudolph is the future of the franchise and with a few years to learn behind Ben could be one of the best QB’s out of a loaded draft class. This year though Ben will do what he always does and dominate the passing game in the AFC.
Dominating the passing game however, cannot be done unless you have a great receiving core. The Steelers once again have that. Antonio Brown had a real shot to be the MVP of the leauge last year if he hadn’t been injured. Year in and year out he is the best receiver in football and honestly theres no debate. There are players in his tier but none as good as he is. Last years break out star Ju Ju Smith Schuster will take the number two receiving role after Martavis Bryant was traded to the Raiders. Smith Schuster was great last year and if he can develop in year two the Steelers could regain the most dominant one two receiving punch in the leauge. There is depth to though, Darius Heyward Bey is aging but still a good deep threat and rookie James Washington provides another potential break out star.
Leveon Bell returns as one of the best backs in the leauge, but as a caveat he may not be starting week one. Bell holds out year after year and has a slow start accordingly. The question must be asked is this his last year in Pittsburgh? Bell will once again preform though this year. I would not be shocked if we saw more James Conner this year though.
The Steelers defense is shaky. The defensive line is ok Stephon Tuitt being there best overall player. It is a much better run stopping line than it is pass rushing. Cameron Heyward is aging quickly and may take a step back this year. This defensive line is a bit of a mystery. The linebacking core though, that’s just a mess. They have talent but without Ryan Shazier, who won’t be playing this year due to a serious neck injury, they are scattered and lost as a group. Bud Dupree is a game to game proposition and after a hot start last year TJ Watt disappeared. Then you look at Vince Williams, who showed flashes but was nothing special last year. The secondary outside of Joe Haden is concerning after Artie Burns had a down year. I do not like this defense.
The Steelers again have the deepest offense in the NFL. However, the issues on defense cannot be glossed over. If things go south for this team they could go really bad really quickly especially because Big Ben has averaged 15 plus interceptions over the past three years. He has more turnovers than Blake Bortles. A lot is riding on this year in Pittsburgh, now it’s up to the Steelers to handle expectations.
Record Prediction: 10-6