Steelers Midseason: Cheers, Jeers, and Fears
Eight games into the 2017 season and the Pittsburgh Steelers are in great position to make a run at the top-seed in the AFC.
Pittsburgh has seen its fair share of ups and downs this season, but a 6-2 record halfway through the season in addition to a three-game winning streak should instill confidence in the Black and Gold faithful.
While it hasn’t all been pretty, Pittsburgh looks like a top team in the AFC yet again.
Here are my cheers, jeers, and fears for the rest of the 2017-18 season.
Emerging young talent is making an impact.
JuJu, T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, Artie Burns, and Sean Davis all have played critical roles thus far in the Steelers season.
JuJu looks to be the best rookie wide receiver in the league up to this point, and the kid is a perfect example of a Steeler both on an off the field.
Watt has the makings of a mainstay in the Pittsburgh defense for years to come. He is quick, athletic, and driven in all facets of the game.
A young and talented defensive backfield is something Pittsburgh hasn’t had in a while, but Burns and Davis have shown they can be lockdown guys with a little more experience.
Converting in the red zone.
Pittsburgh has not been successful this season in punching the ball in for touchdowns once they get inside the 20-yard line.
They often have to settle for short field goals, which allows the opponent to hang around.
It hasn’t come back to bite them in the win/loss columns yet, but it has made for some closer than necessary games.
If Pittsburgh can start converting on these opportunities, they will start to blow people out by two or more scores on a weekly basis.
Staying healthy is my overriding fear every year.
Right now, my focus is squarely on Ben staying upright and healthy come the end of the season.
Ben doesn’t move well anymore, and it’s imperative that he goes into the postseason as healthy as possible.
This comes down to offensive line play and running the ball effectively. Pittsburgh needs to keep the pressure off of Ben by getting the ball into the hands of its playmakers.
Bell and Brown are game breakers, we all know that. Now, Juju is coming on as a player defenses will have to worry about as well. Couple that with a defense playing their best football in the last few years, and it makes for a dangerous team come playoff time.
The Steelers have a clear path to a second-straight AFC North division title and the number one seed in the playoffs.
If Pittsburgh gets a bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs, there’s no reason Pittsburgh shouldn’t be looked at as the favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.