We all know how loyal Steelers’ fans are. When that stadium starts thumping and the song “renegade” blasts through the speakers, the crowd goes hard and it’s one of the most incredible atmospheres in all of sports.
As I sit here and remember my own experience from Heinz Field, I begin to think….
How will Pittsburgh do this year?
Obviously nobody will know until week 17 is over with. It’s fun to predict, even though we haven’t reached the preseason yet!
Here’s my bold and early predictions.
Win the division.
The AFC North is the toughest division in the NFL. At times the division carries three playoff teams, and when that happens, it makes the rest of the league feel uneasy. This division is hard-nosed, mean and gritty when it comes to how its four teams play. You see a heavy dose of run first offense with stingy passing attacks and stout defense. Although, the defensive strengths have decreased over the past few seasons, they are still on display when these teams face off against one another. I think Pittsburgh wins the north, and goes on to the conference championship game. Expect the Bengals to fight for first but ultimately fall short, sliding into the wildcard, in what could be a step back for Cincy.
Bell returns back to his Pro-bowl caliber form
Le’Veon Bell has been one of the best running backs in the NFL, when healthy. He is a major piece to that great Steelers offense and when he is on the field, teams game plan around him. Even without him, that offense can be dangerous, which was on display last season when DeAngelo Williams tore defenses up in his place. I think that once Bell gains his health back and feels confident with his knee, he will return to his former self, which was the #1 RB in the NFL.
Offense will rank top 5.
Who had the #1 offense during the post season? That’s right, the Steelers and they ranked 3rd overall during the regular season. Big Ben and company have set the tone for what an NFL offense should look like. They can pass well or run the ball, with so many options, it’s a wonder why they haven’t made it to the SB over the past couple seasons. If their defense can improve, this team will go far. They’re already a serious contender regardless of the defense, so put that into perspective. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe the offense can carry this team, after all, the offense is possibly one of the best in the history of the NFL.
Defense will rank top 10.
As mentioned above, the defense in the north has fell off a bit, but it is on display bright and clear during the rivalry games. I think the Steelers’ defense will improve, especially in its pass defense. To very little surprise, their defense ranked 21st during the regular season. Oddly enough, the Ravens finished the season with the 8th overall defense, ranked above everyone else in the division. I think the Steelers will at least get close to that 10th overall spot, if they don’t break it. They have guys who want to prove themselves and we should see that happen this year. The secondary wasn’t as bad as everyone thought last year, and let’s not forget the defensive line is loaded with talent. James Harrison is still a beast, that won’t change this year. Expect a high pressuring defense, and if they can excel defensively, this team will go further in the postseason.
They could be primed for a 7th ring.
Original Article – http://nflchalktalk.com/pittsburgh-steelers-early-predictions/