Steelers Widely Predicted to be Great in 2016

Nov 15, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The Pittsburgh Steelers defense huddles against the Cleveland Browns during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 30-9.Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 15, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The Pittsburgh Steelers defense huddles against the Cleveland Browns during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 30-9.Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers are doing pretty well when it comes odds makers and opinion givers in terms of their prospects in 2016

Well the season is over for the Steelers, for everyone now. The prudent, responsible thing to do would be to focus on the off season. There’s free agency and the draft coming up, a busy schedule. Or, hear me out, or we can look forward to next season. Not just next season, but all the way to the end of next season and predict the Super Bowl. Yes, let’s do that.

So the word is in, we’ve got some odds and predictions from publications and the Steelers are looking pretty good. They have a lot going for them after all. The Steelers offense came into last season amazing and stayed that way. They stayed that way despite losing multiple players, All-Pro players in multiple instances for multiple games. And they were still one of the top offenses in the league.

On top of that the defense improved a great deal over the course of the season. They finished 6th in run defense and 3rd in sacks. Later in the season and occasionally during Ben’s midseason injury absence the defense actually carried the team a few times. They do still give up a lot of pass yards though.

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The other problem is the money situation, as usual. I’ve decided to view the Steelers cap issues as never ending, it will never be fixed. It’s been that way forever and will never change. Then, if it does, it’ll be a nice surprise. But until then we’ll have situations like we do this offseason where we’ll have to pinch pennies, and move money around and restructure just to be able to pinch pennies.

So who knows what pieces we’ll lose in the offseason, or gain. But suffice it to say that it will be more difficult to navigate for the Steelers than most teams. At the end of it all though, the amount we can get better or worse is limited. There’s not any stars entering free agency after all.

So let’s hear what’s being said. Let’s hear some predictions.

ESPN had the Steelers ranked a high, but relatively low compared to other predictions, 6th place on their way-too-early power rankings. The Bengals came in at 8th, the Ravens at 16th, and the Browns dead last at 32. ESPN said the following,

"Why they’re here: It’s hard to bet low when Mike Tomlin is entering his 10th season and has finished under .500 zero times. The Steelers had one of the best offenses in the NFL in 2015 … without Le’Veon Bell. He’ll be back, the ridiculous corps of wide receivers will be too, and Big Ben will be healthy. A defense that has transitioned young is improving and will return Senquez Golson.What could change: The Steelers face a major cap crunch, among the worst in the NFL. In short order, they could lose up to six starters in free agency, including a pair of starting offensive linemen, in front of a QB that is too often playing hurt. They might need to be creative just to keep Heath Miller. Heeeeaaatth sounds a little like not very deeeeeep."

NY Daily News writer Gary Myers picked the Steelers as his favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl in 2016. He said simply, “Big Ben, who has been to three Super Bowls — winning two — has one more Super Bowl in him. He nearly beat the Broncos in Denver in the divisional round last month with a bum shoulder and without Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.”

It’s not just sports writers who are in on the game. The odds makers have begun looking all the way to 2016 and started making odds for who will win the Super Bowl.

Odds Shark has the Steelers listed as the fourth most likely to get the Super Bowl with 12 to 1 odds. They have them tied with the Packers. They are topped in those odds by a three way tie for first between the Carolina Panthers, the New England Patriots, and the Seattle Seahawks. The Bengals are 20 to 1, the Ravens are 33 to 1, and the Cleveland Browns dead last at 150 to 1.

The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas have Steelers doing even better. The Steelers are tied for favorites to make the Super Bowl with 8 to 1 odds. They’re tied with New England and Seattle. Cincinnati is at 14 to 1, Baltimore is 30 to 1, and Cleveland is, you guess it, dead last with 200 to 1 odds.

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Hopefully what happens in Vegas also happens in Houston next February.