NFL Season Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers

Joe WillettSenior Writer IJune 24, 2008

The Pittsburgh Steelers are only a few years removed from a Super Bowl and they have yet to lose much from that run.

Sure, Jerome Bettis left the team after that Super Bowl, but other than that, very little has changed.

Willie Parker has stepped in and played like one of the best running backs in the NFL, earning the simple nickname "Fast."

Ben DoubleCheeseBurger is still on the team but his role has changed a little. Now, on with the preview.

Key Addition/Subtraction

Mewelde Moore- From the Vikings

Alen Faneca- Through Free Agency

Key Games

Oct. 26 vs. Giants- The G-Men come into Pittsburgh in a tough game that is likely to feature a lot of big hits and big plays.

Nov. 9 vs. Colts- A stingy defense tries to stop Peyton and crew.

Nov. 30 at Patriots- This was a great match-up last season, expect more of the same this year against these two strong teams.

Dec. 7 vs. Cowboys- Roethlisberger and Tony Romo are both QB's on the rise. They battle in what is likely to be a close, exciting game late in the season.

Season Outlook

The Steelers are hoping to repeat as last year's AFC North Division champions, but they aren't looking to do it the way that they won the Super Bowl.

They went from a defensive team that relied on Big Ben not to lose games, to an offensive team that can complement the defense very well.

Last season, they ranked 9th in points scored, and 17th in yards gained.  But they still kept strong on defense, leading the NFL in total yards allowed and going second in points allowed.

But I like the new balanced team a lot more than the solely defensive juggernaut of the past.

They still can stop almost anybody they want to on defense, but they are now officially ready to start making teams worry about the offense.

With the draft acquisition of Rashard Mendenhall, they have one of the best running back combos in the NFL along with Willie Parker.

Ben Roethlesberger is also coming into his own as a quarterback, throwing for 3,154 yards and 32 TD's to only 11 INT's with a QB rating of 104.1.

With Roethlesberger throwing to Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes, the offense looks scary despite the loss of Alen Faneca.

My Prediction

I think that the Steelers are primed for another playoff run, possibly making it pretty deep.

I would guess that they will finish about 11-5 or 12-4.

I'm Joe W.

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