As long as QB Ben Roethlisberger is healthy, this team is a Super Bowl contender. No Le'Veon Bell for 3 games? No problem. RB DeAngelo Williams, a former 1000 yard-rusher is back to lift the load left by Bell's suspension. Let's hope he can stay healthy because RB Fitzgerald Touissant is the next man up after DeWill. Martavis Bryant suspended for the year? The Black-N-Gold boasts the best WR in the galaxy in Antonio Brown. Problem is, Markus Wheaton was hurt most of training camp and preseason. That leaves the greybeard Darrius Heyward-Bey and the inexperienced Sammie Coates and Eli Rogers. TE Heath Miller hung up his cleats in the offseason. The Steelers promptly signed former San Diego Charger Lardarius Green. Green has yet to see the field in practice or in preseason action. He is currently on the PUP list with an ankle. Or a migraine. Or whatever actually ails him. That leaves 2nd year man Jesse James. And can the offensive line remain healthy for the entire season? The offense has designs on putting up 30 plus points a game. If they stay healthy, anything is possible. If they don't? The only way the get to the Super Bowl is if they buy tickets.
2 members of the starting defensive line, Cam Heyward and Javon Hargrave, enter tomorrow night's opener with injuries, an ankle and a knee respectively. The D-Line is thin as it is. Speaking of injuries and thin, how about those outside linebackers? Bud Dupree is on IR, Arthur Moats is best as a back up, James Harrison is 38 years old and Jarvis Jones is a bust. If the linebackers can't get to the QB and create pressure then the pressure will be on the secondary. Again. Injuries and inexperience riddle the DBs this season. The youngsters of the D will have to step up their game and get on the same page in a hurry with this unit.
The kicking started out as an injury-marred issue last season until the Steelers stumbled upon K Chris Boswell. What a find he was! P Jordan Berry returns as does LS Greg Warren who has been a rock at that position for many seasons. The problem with the not-so-special teams is that they give up way too much field position with entirely too many penalties. And who is returning kicks/punts this season? AB is great but you can't risk losing your best/healthy receiver. Depth chart shows Coates on kicks and AB on punts. We'll see how that shakes out as the season progresses.
So there you have it. A look at our favorite Black-N-Gold Football Team in a nutshell. When Mrs. Black-N-Gold originally saw the schedule, she had the Steelers winning the AFC North with a 12-5 record. Now, thanks to various circumstances, she's thinking 9-7 or 10-6, at best. This team has too many question marks and not enough answers. Cincy is still the top dog in this division. Surely they'll want revenge on the Steelers for the playoff win that they handed them back in January. But anything can happen on any given Sunday. You play to win the game. This team could get healthy and go on a run even from the Wild Card position. It's happened before. It can happen again.
Mrs. Black-N-Gold made her pick long before the Sport Illustrated NFL Preview Issue hit the newstands. Besides, SI got it wrong. Mark it down. Steelers over Cardinals in the Super Bowl. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!