The Pittsburgh Steelers have fallen into a 2-3 hole in the 2012 season. That puts them two games behind the Baltimore Ravens and one game back of the Cincinnati Bengals for second place in the AFC North.
Pittsburgh was 12-4 in 2011.
The team’s lack of success this year can very likely be attributed to injuries suffered on both sides of the ball. While already missing Troy Polamalu and Lamarr Woodley against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night in Week 6, several players on the offensive side of the ball also got hurt.
Maurkice Pouncey, Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, Marcus Gilbert and Ramon Foster all got hurt during the first primetime game of Week 6.
That’s not going to help Pittsburgh’s prospects going forward.
The defensive guys’ absences have certainly impacted the amount of points that the Steelers allow to their opponents.
Pittsburgh is allowing 23 points per game this season, up from 14.2 points per game last year.
However, if they can pull off a win in Week 7, the Steelers will have an opportunity to force a second-place tie with the Cincinnati Bengals.
They can get out of this slump and be possible playoff participants by sweeping their division.
Week 7 represents the Steelers’ first divisional game this season and they’ll have to handle their business on the road in Cincinnati to prevent them from falling behind even more.
The fact that Pittsburgh is the only team in the AFC North that has not played any games against divisional foes works in its favor as the current third-place team.
They will get a chance to knock off everyone else in its division twice before the season ends.
The Pittsburgh passing game should be enough to take care of the Washington Redskins’ porous pass defense in Week 8 at home.
But in Week 9, the Steelers are going to need all hands on deck on the offensive line as they visit the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
Pittsburgh plays the Ravens twice in its next seven games. Winning those will be crucial to the Steelers’ ability to win their division.
They’ll need to return a group of injured guys to the field for that to have a good chance of happening.