The Steelers improved to 2-0 after a close finish against the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon. This defense is applying pressure at a blistering rate and could be the most fun unit to watch in the game today.
The Steelers opened up week two ranked 7th in NFL.com’s power rankings written by Dan Hanzus. This team has gradually made it’s way up the charts after beginning the year at 12th on NFL.com’s board. The jump from 12 to 7 was made after Ben Roethlisberger answered his doubters in week one by leaving with a convincing win against the Giants. The defensive pressure and balanced attack Week 1 were big factors in the 5 spot jump.
The 7th spot ranking was almost perfect but the Seahawks seem to be trailing the Steelers in the weekly power rankings. Seeing how great Russell Wilson is playing, it’s a bit surprising that Pittsburgh was higher.
Where do the Steelers stand for week 3?
This week NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus released his power rankings and Steelers Nation is going to love this spot. Hanzus has the Steelers ranked 4th this week with only the Ravens, Cheifs, and Packers ahead of them.
Hanzus stated that the Steelers were in a “pick your poison” situation right now. Siting all the weapons the Steelers have to use at their disposal. After Week 2, we can see that matchups across the board are a nightmare for opposing defenses. Hanzus mentions second-round pick Chase Claypool‘s 84-yard touchdown in his short Steelers description. Claypool’s growth as a big-play receiver is going to be key for this team having options open underneath and balancing out the run game.
He goes on to mention Diontae Johnson and Juju Smith-Schuster are finding their stride with Ben under center. Johnson is looking like a number one receiving option after having 8 receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. Juju has looked like Ben’s safety net through two weeks after maybe not having tons of yardage but making the crucial plays at crucial times.
It also does not hurt that Ben is slinging the ball like Ben of old. We saw high arching deep passes, high velocity passes, and everything in between on Sunday. As long as this keeps up this team has a chance at the playoffs.
Is 4th the right landing spot?
I still believe the running back conversation is far from over this season. That is one of the reasons I am not so sold on the 4th spot quite yet. Benny Snell looked like the bell cow week one. However, two fumbles within 22 carries will not get the job done.
James Conner bounced back with a motivated performance which was promising. His large run to seal the game bloated his stat sheet some but he looked good none the less. It would be nice to see 4th rounder Anthony McFarland activated and get some carries after all his buzz in camp.
The offense has also been struggling to string together consistent scoring drives throughout the game. The third quarter was a dud from start to finish for this group. Facing a team that scores consistently throughout the game could be hard to follow if this offense stalls like that again.
As a fan, I love seeing the Steelers ranked in the top 4. However, tempering those top 4 expectations is necessary. The defense has yet to be tested and the offense is still working out the kinks. Squaring off against Houston this week should be a great measuring stick for the Steelers.