Yes, you have heard me correctly. Most of the typical bandwagon fans have jumped off the Steelers after an unforgettable offseason.
Combine the suspension of Ben Roethlisberger and the trade of Santonio Holmes, many are predicting for the Steelers to hit rock bottom of the AFC North.
As I have mentioned before, I am not a big fan of making predictions this early in the season. Sure, you can have your idea of contenders, but with training camp and preseason still around the corner, injuries are bound to happen.
From what I have seen, here is how it has gone thus far. Steeler Nation has stayed optimistic, while the rest of the league and their fans( Steelers rivals perhaps) believes the Steelers' run is over.
However, I do disagree to a certain standpoint. Despite both the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals becoming darkhorse contenders with the off seasons they had, Pittsburgh is at least a nine-win team after all the turmoil.
Whether or not the Steelers make the playoffs remains to be seen. Most doubt is a result of the suspension of Roethlisberger.
The first four games can determine the fate of the Steelers within the first month of the season.
Most believe Byron Leftwich will be the starting quarterback for that period of time, with Dennis Dixon right behind.
A 4-0 start doesn't look likely, but a 2-2 or 3-1 start can happen. The Baltimore Ravens seem to be the only team that can stand in the Steelers' way early in the year.
Also, many seem to forget about the defense that finished fifth in the league last year, and brings back Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith.
Look, I'm not a fan of the Steelers secondary at all (besides Polamalu). However, Troy makes a huge difference on the field, and we saw the affects when he wasn't on it most of the year due to injury.
The biggest player I look forward to watching though is Mike Wallace. Holmes came in the clutch time after time, and Wallace seems to have the talent to surpass Santonio.
With Hines Ward getting up in age, is Wallace ready to take on the load?
Overall, there should be some concern about the Steelers, but not to much.
With a defense returning healthy, Pittsburgh will have a chance to win their first four games of the year.
Add in the return of Ben Roethlisberger, and the Steelers will be in the heart of the AFC playoff race, whether people like it or not.
Matt Miselis is an NFL Featured Columnist for BleacherReport.com.
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