NFL: Just how good are the Pittsburgh Steelers?
There's one undefeated team remaining in the NFL, and quite frankly? They may not be getting the respect they deserve.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (8-0) are standing tall at the top of the AFC North, and have shown the league they can beat you in an awful lot of ways. While venerable veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger may possibly be out this weekend (COVID-19/reserve list), this squad is good enough to win on Sunday against the Bengals (2-5-1) and preserve their perfect record.
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This 2020 Steelers team, like many others in the past, have continued to follow the Black-and-Yellow blueprint. One of the most consistent franchises in the history of pro sports has proven -- once again -- that you can never doubt their ability to field a powerful force.
Despite the fact that they've played a lot of close games this season, the Pittsburgh Steelers have managed to find several different ways to victory. That versatility has served them well.
Aside from Big Ben, the offense sports possibly the deepest wide receiver corps in pro football today. Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and the quickly emerging Chase Claypool give the team a ton of options.
And that doesn't factor in that opposing teams have to account for the 'human wrecking ball' in the backfield, James Conner. Add in underrated tight end Eric Ebron, who has been a great safety valve, and you've got the formula for a squad that can make a deep playoff run.
With a powerful pass rush and one of the greatest coaches of all-time in Mike Tomlin, it's time to start thinking of the Pittsburgh Steelers as a serious contender to hoist the coveted Lombardy Trophy in February.
What would stop the Pittsburgh Steelers from running the table?
Even though the Steelers have been flawless thus far, why do some pundits and observers still question their ability to go all the way to the top of the mountain?
For one, the AFC is loaded right now.
As good as the Pittsburgh Steelers have been in the season's first half, the grind of getting past teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens is a daunting task. And as most NFL fans know, the regular season is one thing. Playoff football is another matter altogether.
Also, any team with a veteran quarterback is always the subject of injury speculation. Roethlisberger is already nursing an injury this week. And despite his Hall of Fame pedigree? Father Time has still never been beaten, and the miles on his body have been racking up since he came in to the league 16 years ago.
At 38, there's always the fear that the next big hit could shelve Roethlisberger and derail Pittsburgh's chances for another championship.
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We've seen glimpses of greatness from this team so far. But as we roll in to the second half of the NFL calendar, they still have a lot to prove. However, if the Pittsburgh Steelers can put all the pieces together down the stretch, they will be a tough act to beat once the postseason starts.
Still, the questions remain: Are these Steelers as good as they've looked during this 8-0 run, or is it all a mid-season mirage?
And do they have enough talent and tenacity to win the title in Tampa in 2021?
Stay tuned. We'll find out in the weeks ahead.