Steelers: Biggest threat to New England?


Are the Pittsburgh Steelers the biggest threat to the Patriots in the AFC?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently in the driver’s seat in the AFC wild card race, sitting at a fair 6-4 record following their week off, and riding a two game winning streak as they enter the final stretch of the season.

The biggest boost to their efforts has been the return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has proved yet again that when playing, the Steelers can truly do anything, and their potential is immeasurable.

Even without the elusive Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers have been displaying what was promised at the beginning of the season, with one of the most high powered offenses in the league.

With Antonio Brown making up for lost time when Ben was out, Martavis Bryant returning to last year’s form, and DeAngelo Williams ignoring his age, the Steelers offense is locked and loaded with a a wide array of weapons for Roethlisberger to turn to.

But how far can they go?

It may seem now that the Steelers might not even make the playoffs with the tough schedule ahead, and if they get there, could be a one and done team. The team has been fairly inconsistent, and with injuries occurring week by week, the season has seemed tragically lost for a while now.

But it’s fair to note that despite the injuries, the Steelers have somehow remained afloat in a crowded wild card competition behind a surprisingly decent defense, and now have a chance to get ahead of the rest with a few more wins.

On the other hand, 4 out of the 6 final teams that Pittsburgh must defeat are also competing for a playoff position with games against the Seahawks, Colts, Broncos, and a pivotal AFC North matchup against the Bengals that have made the AFC North interesting by dropping their last two.

The other two games are nasty divisional match ups against the Browns and Ravens, and while they may seem like easy wins with Ben back in action, AFC North games never seem too easy.

If the Steelers are to overcome the daunting weeks to come and make it to football in January, the football world better watch out.

While it’d be sweet to say that the Steelers could glide to the Super Bowl if they make the playoffs, it’s not that easy. While there could be an easy argument to how Pittsburgh could get over the hump of most AFC super powers, there’s one team in the AFC that seemingly refuses to ever lose; The New England Patriots.

In the opening game of the season, the Patriots blew by the Steelers, but this is a new Pittsburgh team. The team still lacks the lovable Le’Veon Bell as they did in Week 1, but they’ve also welcomed back deep threat Martavis Bryant, and the defense has grown far beyond what anyone expected.

As writer Marc Sessler said, “a healthy Pittsburgh offense has the power to give New England fits.”

Looking at the other teams around the AFC, it’s understandable as to why the Steelers could truly be the lone heroes strong enough to overcome the impossible.

The Broncos are having quarterback troubles, and Brock Osweiler seems like the solution, but he’s no magician. The Bengals definitely have a chance, but with Andy Dalton‘s playoff record, they are totally unpredictable, and the last two games haven’t made them look too perfect.

Outside of those two teams, you have a group of teams fighting for a wild card, and well, the AFC South, where the best team is sitting at 5-5.

The Steelers may be the most likely team to top the Pats, but can they really defeat the champions?

The simple answer is yes. Sure, the Patriots would be seen as a heavy favorite, and many people would allude back to the previous matchup between the two teams, but the playoffs are an entirely different situation, and both quarterbacks have plenty of experience on the big stage.

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Pittsburgh is surely the dark horse of the AFC right now, but if they squeeze into the playoffs, anything can happen, and the idea of a Super Bowl is no longer an absurd thought.