This should be an interesting year for the men in black and yellow. Big Ben Roethlisberger is gone for the first four games as opposed to six. Byron Leftwich, who was supposed to be the back-up, injured himself. So that leaves the young Dennis Dixon to start for the Steelers. Dixon is a quick, but raw quarterback. The Steelers knew what they were getting in Roethlisberger, but with Dixon anything goes.
I love Coach Mike Tomlin saying the quarterback position is still up for grabs once Ben comes back. Bull. Do you honestly believe Dixon will be a consistently productive quarterback? At best the Steelers go 3-1 during Ben’s absence, and that’s a stretch.
The Steelers will most assuredly get back to their trademark running game, especially with Dixon at the helm. Rashard Mendenhall had a good year last year, but one wonders how effective he will be this year as the Steelers don’t have a legitimate passing threat. They could become predictable. Hines Ward, Antwaan Randle El, Heath Miller, and Mike Wallace will have to step up their games this year to make Dixon’s job easier in the absence of Santanio Holmes bolting for the Jets.
Defense should be tops in the league once more for this talented group consisting of Lamarr Woodley, James Harrison, James Farrior, Troy Palamalu, and Ike Taylor to name a few. They were third in rushing yards allowed last year. Expect that to continue.
Overall, the gauge of success for this team will be defined by how well Dixon handles his time in the spotlight and how Big Ben fares in his return. I still think the division is too formidable for this year’s Steelers. They will finish third in the AFC North at 9-7.
By Josh Delp of the Sports Fan Blog Network
The AFC North is going to be a tough division this season. The Bengals and Ravens are both expected to have great teams. The Steelers are kind of up in the air and the Browns have improved a little as well. Who will finish at the top of the division? Read on to find out.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers cleaned house last season, proving to the league that they won’t stand up for misconduct off the field, no matter how good the player is. Santonio Holmes was the Steelers up and coming wide receiver until he ran into trouble with the law last season that prompted the Steelers to trade him to the Jets. Ben Rothlisberger was also involved in suspicion to sexual assault during the off-season. Rothlisberger had trouble in the past being suspected of sexual assault in 2009 also. The Steelers had enough, rumors were flying around that the Steelers were trying to trade Rothlisberger, but it never happened. Rothlisberger will be suspended for up to six games starting this season, which will greatly hurt the Steelers chances at making it to the playoffs. Byron Leftwich was picked up by the Steelers to fill in for Rothlisberger while he’s suspended.
I expect the Steelers to run the ball a lot with Rashard Mendenhall starting for the first time this year. Mendenhall will help the Steelers compete in the first half of the season, but the Steelers also have to pass the ball and the only weapon they are left with is the aging Hines Ward. Second year starter Mike Wallace might break out with his speed and prove to be an up and coming big name receiver. Then there is tight end Heath Miller, Miller is one of the best tight ends in the league, but since Holmes left the team Miller may not be as open as he as in the past.
The Steelers strong point has always been their defense and the same remains true this season. Led by strong safety, Troy Polamalu, James Farrior at middle line backer, Lamarr Woodley and James Harrison on the outside, and Ike Taylor leading the cornerbacks. The Steelers will again have one of the best defenses in the league, probably second behind the Jets. Their defense may help the Steelers make their games close while Rothlisberger is out. I think the Steelers will finish their season at 8-8.
Click here to read the full article – By Eric Heyer of Sports Fan Blog Network