It's almost half-time for the NFL season and our Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off their bye week. While they ready themselves for a road trip versus the Baltimorons, Mrs. Black-N-Gold will look at some ups and downs for our Favorite Black-N-Gold Football Team, thus far. Since the Steelers have a 4-3 record we'll look at 4 ups and 3 downs. Hut, hut!
#1 Despite the myriad injuries, the Steelers sit atop the AFC North. Yes, it's a terrible division this season but they're still the leaders. It's important that they maintain this position in order to help them get a bye and/or a home field playoff game.
#2 The bye couldn't have come at a better time. Word is that some of the injured returned to practice yesterday in anticipation of playing in this week's game (DL Cam Heyward, T Marcus Gilbert, WR Markus Wheaton). There is also hope that QB Ben Roethlisberger, LB Bud Dupree and TE Lardarius Green may see the field soon, if not this week.
#3 RB Le'Veon Bell looks like he's fully recovered from last year's season-ending knee injury. Here's hoping he stays injury-free. And off the weed.
#4 The return of Cam & Ben is sorely (punny) needed. This team goes as Big Ben goes. If he goes down to an injury, the team's playoff chances do, too. The same with Cam the Man and the defense. No doubt about it, #97 drives the defense.
#1 The laundry list of injuries exposed the Steelers lack of depth throughout the roster. You can only have so many "next men up". They have to find a way to keep the starters healthy and on the field.
#2 The Steelers definitely need to win their division to keep their playoff hopes alive. They can ill afford any more loses, especially in conference, also. That means more playing down to the level of competition. This team has lost to too many bad teams too many times during the Mike Tomlin Era. If you want to be a Super Bowl contender, you've got to play like a Super Bowl contender. Beat the good teams and beat up the bad teams.
#3 It's been a mixed bag with the rookie crop this season. Some of the youngsters (CB Artie Burns, DL Javon Hargrave, S Sean Davis, LB Tyler Matakevich) have seen game action. The results have been good and bad. You'd think the more reps these guys get, the better they'll get. However, there is also the concern of them hitting the rookie wall. Mrs. Black-N-Gold hopes they kids took advantage of the bye to rest and relax. We'll need them in the 2nd half.
Here's what happened to the rest of the division while the Steelers were off. The Baltimorons got their bye, also. The Bungles kissed their cousins in London with a tie. And Cleveland? They may be rocking in the World Series but Cleveland still sucks in the NFL. The Clowns lost another one.
Now it's time to put on the pads and your game face, too. It's Baltimore week and you know what that means. Kick Baltimoron butt. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!