Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season is in the books and the Pittsburgh Steelers are 0-1 following their opening night loss to the New England Patriots. How do the Steelers compare to the rest of the teams around the league? Let’s take a look around the sports media landscape and see where they are being placed in the weekly power rankings.
Over at ESPN Pittsburgh came in at number 13 overall. They were less than effusive about the team’s performance on defense the other night:
“Steel Curtain no more. The Steelers have allowed 34 pass TDs since the start of last season, better than only the Bears and Buccaneers.”
Meanwhile, Fox Sports put the Steelers all the way down at number 19. Here’s what they had to say:
“The Steelers’ new defensive scheme will take more time to gel with a young group. It doesn’t help that the offense is noticeably less explosive without suspended starters Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant.”
It wasn’t all negative, though. A couple of writers were bullish on the Steelers power rankings. For example, Frank Schwab at Yahoo Sports ranked Pittsburgh 10th, just behind the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals. Still, he couldn’t help but mention the secondary problems:
“The secondary is just not good. It’s going to be hard to fix it too much from here on out either. Ben Roethlisberger better take care of his arm because he’s going to be throwing a lot this season.”
Here’s a brief roundup of where other media outlets ranked the Steelers this morning:
CBS Sports: 8th
USA Today: 14th
SB Nation: 12th
Bleacher Report: 13th
As you can see there isn’t much of a consensus out there as to just how good this team really is. One factor may be that it’s difficult to judge them without two of their best offensive weapons in Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant.
One common theme that I have read is that sportswriters are universally down on Pittsburgh’s defense. That should come as no surprise as they looked absolutely abysmal against the Patriots. It’s one thing to give up points to a high-powered offense, but the Steelers were embarrassed on a number of occasions, particularly when they covered (or didn’t cover) Rob Gronkowski.
Losing Troy Polamalu to retirement was a significant blow to the secondary and the defense’s identity as a whole. However, in my mind the problems start at the top: defensive coordinator Keith Butler was clearly out of his league gameplanning against the champs.
Butler has to do a better job or Pittsburgh will fall in these rankings every week as well as the standings.
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