The Pittsburgh Steelers will Go 13-3 in 2010 and Here Is How
Here is a week by week breakdown of how the Steelers will finish 2010 with a 13-3 record and squeak by the Baltimore Ravens to win the AFC North.
They will have the best record in the AFC. This will give them a bye in the first round of the playoffs and home field advantage throughout.
Of course my crystal ball can't foresee every play, but I think I have enough of the facts in focus to make my prediction. But it is my prediction, feel free to to tell me where you think I am wrong or right.
Lets start with week 1 . . .
Game 1 Atlanta Falcons
The Steelers will open the season at home against the Atlanta Falcons and without Ben Roethlisberger. There will still be some controversy that Byron Leftwich should be starting, but Mike Tomlin will give Dennis Dixon the start.
Though Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense puts up a valiant try, the Steelers now-healthy defense and renewed power running game of Mendenhall and Dwyer pound the birds into submission.
Steelers win 24-13!
Game 2 @ Tennessee Titans
The Steelers now go on the road to visit former division rival, the Titans. These are not the Titans of two years ago though.
Losing Vanden Bosch one season after losing Albert Haynesworth, and Keith Bulluck one year older leaves the Titan defense soft. The Titans offense has become Chris Johnson and not much else.
The Steelers defense will hold Johnson under 100 yards rushing, forcing Vince Young to throw. This give the Steelers at least one score on defense.
Again, the power running game will be featured by Steelers, but Dixon will break one long run and have one long pass to keep the Titans honest. The Steelers win this one going away, 31-17.
Game 3 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Steelers early season soft schedule gives them another easy win. The poor Bucs are just outclassed.
The Steelers run wild with over 250 yards of rushing offense and the defense runs wild over the hapless Bucs. The Steelers win their third straight, 24-3.
Game 4 Baltimore Ravens
The better than ever Ravens come to Pittsburgh in week 4 and the Steelers streak comes to an end.
Ray Lewis is another year older but still ferocious, but overall the Ravens defense is not as scary as a few years ago.
But it is the Ravens offense that is the difference maker. A well balanced running and passing attack keeps the Steelers off balance.
While the Steelers also score against the Ravens, they lose a tough one, 31-28 on a late field goal winning drive engineered by Flacco. It is the first game that the Steelers really miss Big Ben.
Game 5 Cleveland Browns
After the bye week, Ben is back and he is on a mission! He wants to win back the fans, the Rooneys and his teammates. Plus the Steelers have not forgot that bitter cold loss to Cleveland late last year that kept them out of the playoffs.
The Steelers run at, through, and around the hapless Browns. Ben lights it up, but conservatively. The Steelers defense befuddles the Cleveland offense. The Steelers win this one big, 36-10.
Game 6 @ Miami Dolphins
The Steelers come down to Miami again this year. The Dolphins are a better team with Brandon Marshall and a healthy Ronnie Brown.
But the 'Fins D is no match for Roethlisberger on a mission. He plows through Miami like it was Milledgeville, Ga., on a Saturday night.
The Dolphins offense gives the Steelers D a run for their money, but the Steelers escape Miami with a hard-fought 28-24 win.
Game 7 @ New Orleans Saints
The Steelers are on Sunday night football live from the Super Dome against the defending Super Bowl champions.
The game is a shootout between Drew Brees and Big Ben. Both QBs throw for 350+ yards. But the Steelers get away from the power running game, leaving the D on the field too long.
The Steelers lose 38-31 and will look for revenge against the Saints, perhaps in the Super Bowl.
Game 8 @ Cincinnati Bengals
The Steelers close out the first half of the season on Monday night against the Bengals. The Bengals had a good season last year, so this year is an off one for them. That is their M.O. Also the Steelers have something to prove after losing two to Cincy last year.
The Steelers win this one and the score makes it seem closer than it was. The Steelers run down the Bengals by a 23-13 score. At the halfway mark they are 6-2 and trail the Ravens by one game in the AFC North.
Game 9 New England Patriots
For the third week in a row, the Steelers are on national TV, this time returning to Sunday night. Ben and Tom Brady hook up in a classic, but at the end of the day the Patriots D is just not a match for the Steelers, and the Pats running game is too weak.
The Steelers win a close one, holding on for a 21-18 win.
Game 10 Oakland Raiders
The Raiders make a return visit to Heinz Field this year and it is payback time. Forget any last second miracles, the Steelers run all over the Raiders and with Troy Polamalu in the game, Jason Campbell has an awful day, throwing three interceptions.
The Steelers win this one easy 30-10.
Game 11 @ Buffalo Bills
The Steelers are no strangers to cold weather and it will be plenty cold up in Buffalo on Nov. 28. This is when the Steelers dedication to the running game will really pay off. They wear down the forever rebuilding Bills.
The Bills don't have a QB to challenge the D and rookie CJ Spiller becomes just another back not to break 100 against the Steelers. Steelers win a low scoring game 23-9.
They are 8-2 and tied with the Ravens.
Game 12 @ Baltimore Ravens
The Steelers are back on Sunday night football and it is a showdown for the AFC North. They are in Baltimore to take on the Ravens. The season has been hard on the Ravens D and Ray Lewis is beat up and not up to par.
In the meantime Ben is the difference in this game. He finds a way to beat the Ravens in a typical fashion with a last second field goal. The Steelers win this one 16-13 to claim first place by themselves.
Game 13 Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals come to town and the year has not been kind to them. Injuries and off field issues have reduced them to the Bungles again.
The Steelers still have something to prove to them though and pour it on for a 26-10 victory.
Rashard Mendenhall goes over a 1,000 yards for the season during this game.
Game 14 NY Jets
The most improved team in the league comes to town in game 14. The Jets are in a dog fight with Miami and New England to win their division and if they lose could drop out of the playoffs.
With Baltimore now a game back and the Steelers owning the tie breaker they are feeling less pressure than Rex Ryan's crew.
The Steelers lose this one on a last second field goal that is shades of 2009 all over again. You can't win every game. The Steelers go down 27-24.
Game 15 Carolina Panthers
The Panthers with rookie Jimmy Clausen come to town. The Steelers defense totally befuddles the rookie. In the meantime, the Steelers make sure the running game is all tuned up for the playoffs.
They run over and through Carolina 28-10 to close out the regular season home schedule.
Game 16 @ Cleveland Browns
The Steelers close out the season on a Sunday afternoon in Cleveland. They need the win to clinch the AFC North and it won't make a difference what Baltimore does.
The Steelers will not be denied. After putting the game away in the first half, Tomlin rests some of the key starters and veterans. The Steelers still win going away 28-14.
They finish the season 13-3, champions of the AFC North, a bye in the first round and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Stay tuned for my article previewing the 2010 AFC playoffs. I am shining up my crystal ball right now.