The offensive and defensive players that will make-or-break the Pittsburgh Steelers

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2016 taught the Pittsburgh Steelers that offense isn’t going to win a Super Bowl. Well, in 2017, these two players should determine whether they repeat their 2016 fate or head to Super Bowl LII.

Every NFL team has their make or break players. The guys who win and lose games just by showing up on the field. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, they have one guy on offense and one on defense that will determine just how successful 2017 will be.

First, we’ll start will offense. Yes, Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell will provide some serious advantages for Pittsburgh this season. As arguably the best trio in sports, these three will be a strong determining factor in the outcome of 2017.

They aren’t the make-or-break player the Steelers need, though.

That would be Martavis Bryant. After serving a year-long suspension for PED use, Bryant returns to the field looking to be an instant comeback star. The problem is that he was only starting to become a star before his time off. He wasn’t already a superstar; he was just becoming one.

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So, with his return, the NFL and Pittsburgh seem to believe that he’ll instantly be one of the best wide receivers in the league. Watching his offseason workouts through social media, and witnessing his change of heart due to the birth of his son, it isn’t crazy to imagine Bryant being a Pro Bowl caliber player in his first year back.

If he is as good as people are assuming, he gives the Steelers the edge they need. Now, teams won’t be able to double-team Antonio Brown without leaving single coverage on Bryant, Eli Rogers, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Sorry, but you can’t win a game when you leave stud wideouts single covered with Big Ben throwing the football.

In Bryant’s last played season, he put up 765 yards and six touchdowns, without two other great receivers behind him. Now, as long as he is the star everyone believes he is, he’s looking at a 1,200-yard year with 10-plus scores.

Offense doesn’t give many teams the advantage in the NFL. As much as the game is changing, defense still wins championships. But if Bryant is as deadly as projected, he gives Pittsburgh the offensive edge that could make them one of the most unstoppable teams in the NFL.