The NFL season started last night and the Kansas City Chiefs decided to pull out all their stops and upset the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Faith still exists throughout the league that Pats are going to make it back to the AFC Championship game; they are too talented not to.
Who the Patriots are playing is still up in the air. The Chiefs did look great last night putting up 537 yards against New England at home but there is one team that should make it with ease to the Championship game and that team resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The Steelers got blown out last year in the AFC Championship game against the Patriots 36-17 but they are an even better team than last year. Pittsburgh has signed Joe Haden to sure up a suspect secondary, they traded for tight end Vance McDonald , and Martavis Bryant, is back after serving a year suspension. They also drafted very well grabbing bowling ball running back John Conner, wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster, and edge rusher T.J. Watt. Throw in the fact that the young players already on their defense like Bud Dupree (4.5 sacks in 7 games last year), Ryan Shazier, and Artie Burns ( 3 interceptions as a rookie) will just keep getting better make it seems like they are on a steady path back to the championship game; maybe even the Super Bowl. The only question that the Steelers may have is at quarterback.
“What Big Ben?”, yes Big Ben. This season Roethlisberger has all the necessary tools to chase after his third Super Bowl ring. But, with Roethlisberger expressing the fact in January that retirement is on his mind, what is left in his tank is still in question. The last time he played a full season was 2014 in what may have been his best season of his career. Since 2014 he has only missed six games but he probably should have sat out a couple of the games he suited up. Being the guy he is, Roethlisberger continued to jog out onto the field in all sorts of pain causing his injuries to get worse and worse. That may be a cause for the rise in turnovers he’s had. In 2014 he had 12, 2015 16 turnovers, and last season he combined for 19 giveaways.
Roethlisberger is most likely in the declining stages of his career at 35 years old but that shouldn’t stop him from having his most productive season yet. The Steelers have one of the best offensive lines in football. Last season, the unit led by veterans David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, and Maurkice Pouncey gave up the second fewest sacks in the league. Hopefully the offensive front will be able to keep Ben relatively healthy this season.
Along with their line, the Steelers may have the best running back in football in Le’Veon Bell. Defenses can stack the box to try and stop Bell but that opens up passing lanes for Ben to run, “schoolyard bullshit” and lob it up to Antonio Brown who will then proceed to twerk in the back of the end zone.
The Steelers are as complete as a team as they come in the NFL right now. Defensively and offensively they are young and explosiveness. Top O-line? Yup. Top running back? Yes. Top wide receiver? You better believe it. Young talented defense with pro-bowlers? Uh huh. That is why if Pittsburgh fails to do anything this year it should be put on Big Ben’s shoulders. He has everything to succeed and more so if the Steelers don’t make it back to the AFC Championship game this season should be considered a failure for Pittsburgh fans everywhere.