The Pittsburgh Steelers begin their season this Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. The preseason was very disappointing for the Steelers so it’s not much of a stretch to say that the same is to be said for the regular season. This season is poised to be a long and hard season for the Steelers that might see them take a backseat to not only the Penguins but also the Pirates in Pittsburgh.
When I look at the Steelers’ schedule I think it’s very possible for the Steelers to finish 10-6, and possibly make the playoffs. The only problem with that is they have to beat the teams that they are supposed to play.
The toughest teams on the Steelers’ schedule are the Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers. While I don’t see them beating all of those teams I think the possiblity is there.
For some weird reason the Steelers always play up to their competition. My primary examples come from last year when the Steelers beat the defending champions New York Giants and the Baltimore Ravens (with Charlie Batch at quarterback).
However, the Steelers tend to play down to their competition every season as well. Since the bringing in of Mike Tomlin the Steelers have progressively played worse against teams that they should dominate; this was seen last year against the Titans, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, and Cleveland Browns.
When it comes to the roster that the Steelers are sporting this season; I’m not going to lie, it is one of the most unsatisfying rosters that I have seen the Steelers have in a long time. They still have Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, but with the uncertain return of Heath Miller and the merry-go-round backfield behind Roethlisberger I don’t know how the offense is going to play. The offense doesn’t have much of a middle road this year; they are either going to play well or stink up the field. And it is all focused around the offensive line. If Maurkice Pouncey and the “Line of Paper” (which is what I like to call them) can stay healthy and play to their potential, the Steelers’ offense will put up huge numbers. But it goes the other way too, because if the offensive can’t stay healthy and plays poorly, then the Steelers’ offense will be hurting.
The Steelers’ defense is all dependent on their health. If the older veterans can stay healthy and play the whole season then they’ll put up numbers that we are used to seeing. The young talent on the defense will shine this year as well. If the preseason is any indication, when given the chance cornerback Cortez Allen, outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, and cornerback Terry Hawthorne will make a major impact this season for the Steelers’ defense. Allen has just about locked up the starting position opposite Ike Taylor.
The talent is there for the Steelers to have a good season. It’s now up to the coaches to be able to get the players to play to their full potential, and if the Steelers have a bad season that will be the reason and to be completely honest it wouldn’t surprise me if that were the case. Even though he won a Super Bowl, this year is a make or break year for head coach Mike Tomlin. Most of Bill Cowher’s players are gone so we will see his true coaching ability come out this season.