2011 Pittsburgh Steelers Predictions and NFL Futures Odds
by Aaron Smith - 8/25/2011
The Pittsburgh Steelers last season fell just short of adding to their record six Super Bowl trophies. The Steelers outgained the Packers and won the time of possession battle in the big game, but the team’s three turnovers were too much to overcome. This is a team that went 12-4 and had a very successful season, but they realize that winning it all is what matters to their fans. The Steelers retained most of the players from last year’s team, and expectations are always high in Pittsburgh.
The AFC North is a battle every single year between the Steelers and the Ravens. It should be no different this season. When Baltimore and Pittsburgh get together, the hard hitting is taken to levels seen nowhere else in the NFL. The Steelers have been getting the best of Baltimore when it counts the last few years. Can Pittsburgh stay on top of the AFC North and make another run to the Super Bowl?
Ben Roethlisberger stayed out of trouble this offseason and he’ll be ready to start the season off under center for the Steelers. Unfortunately for the team, Rashard Mendenhall and Hines Ward were in the news for negative reasons in the offseason. Mendenhall had a breakout season last year, but his fumble in the Super Bowl proved extremely costly. It will be interesting to see how he responds this season. Ward is still a reliable receiver, but Mike Wallace is the big playmaker on the outside. Heath Miller is a great pass catching tight end as well.
The one area that had a major overhaul was the offensive line, and it definitely needed it. Roethlisberger has taken a total of 274 sacks in his seven years as a Steeler. Last year, Pittsburgh allowed the second most sacks in the NFL. Flozell Adams and Max Starks are gone, and the Steelers aren’t quite sure who will step into their spots. Willie Colon is great when healthy, but his health is definitely in question. Markice Pouncey does give the Steelers a high quality center to build around.
The Steelers defense is the real reason they have been so successful the last few years. In fact, you could make a solid argument that this unit has been the best in the NFL over the course of the last three or four years. It’s tough to find a weakness in this defense. The front four are as solid as you’ll find, and they do an excellent job clogging up the running lanes. The strength of the Steelers defense is probably their linebackers, who are the best in the NFL. James Harrison, James Farrior, LaMarr Woodley, and Lawrence Timmons are all phenomenal. Harrison was in the news for all the wrong reasons because of his battle with Roger Goodell, but the Steelers are more concerned with the fact he had to have two back surgeries.
Troy Polamalu is probably the most valuable player on the defense. There isn’t a better safety in the NFL when he is healthy. If there is a weakness in the Steelers defense, it would probably be their cornerbacks. Bryant McFadden was beaten badly on a consistent basis last season, and the Steelers are hoping someone will step up in that second cornerback position.
Jeff Reed was let go in the middle of last season, and Shaun Suisham did a solid job as the placekicker. Suisham is back for another season with the team. He is a fairly reliable kicker, but he lacks a big leg. Daniel Sepulveda is back once again as the punter, but his injury history is concerning. The return teams are nothing special, but the kick coverage teams are solid.
2011 Pittsburgh Steelers Schedule
The Steelers get a first-place schedule, but that actually isn’t a negative thing this year. Pittsburgh will take on Seattle and Kansas City, who are both likely to be worse than they were last season. In addition, the Steelers get to beat up on the Bengals twice. The Steelers start the season in Baltimore, so it will be interesting to see how that season opener goes. All in all, Pittsburgh has a fairly easy schedule this season.
Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Futures Odds
The books realize that the Steelers made very few changes in their roster, so they should be very good once again. JustBet lists the Steelers at +850 to win the Super Bowl this year. JustBet also puts the Steelers odds of winning the AFC Championship at +450. BetOnline lists the Steelers at -120 to win the AFC North. What about the Steelers team total? Bookmaker lists the ‘over/under’ at 10.5 wins.
2011 Pittsburgh Steelers Predictions
The Steelers are getting a little bit older, but I think they still have a couple more great years in this team. The schedule sets up nicely for them to make another run at a Super Bowl. I think the Steelers are the most complete team in the AFC North. I like them to go ‘over’ the listed 10.5 wins for my NFL season win totals predictions. Expect another very impressive regular season from Pittsburgh, but they probably don’t have the offensive line needed to beat a team like New England or Green Bay late in the playoffs.
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