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Super Bowl Predictions: 12 Reasons the Steelers Will Be Super Bowl Champs

Ross ColemanAnalyst IJanuary 13, 2011

Super Bowl Predictions: 12 Reasons the Steelers Will Be Super Bowl Champs

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    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Super Bowl Predictions: 12 Reasons the Steelers Will Be Super Bowl Champs

    The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the playoffs after a down year a season ago. While the Patriots are considered the favorites in the playoffs, the Steelers have as good a chance at winning the Super Bowl as any other team in these playoffs.

    The Steelers were 12-4 in the regular season and locked up the two seed in the playoffs and earned a first round bye. Saturday, they have their first playoff game this year against their division rivals, the Baltimore Ravens.

    Here are 12 reasons that the Steelers will be Super Bowl champions come February.

    Let us know what you think Pittsburgh's chances are.

12. Turnover Margin

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    This season, the Steelers are second in the NFL in turnover margin at +1.1 per game, including an impressive +1.2 on the road.

    Even when the Steelers aren't playing in the friendly confines of Heinz Field, they are still able to force mistakes by their opponents.

    If the Steelers can continue that trend, it gives them a fantastic chance in the playoffs.

11. Balance

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    On both offense and defense, the Steelers have balance.

    When Pittsburgh has the ball, they can hand it to 1,200 yard running back Rashard Mendenhall or throw it to 1,200 yard wide receiver Mike Wallace. The Steelers are in the top-half off the league in both rushing offense and passing offense.

    On the defensive side of the ball, they have stars on every level. On the defensive line it is Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith (if he plays). At linebacker it is James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley. In the secondary it is Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark.

    The Steelers are top-12 in both rush defense and pass defense.

10. Tuned Up

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    In the last seven weeks of the season, the Steelers played only three teams that finished with a record of .500 or better. They beat the Ravens and Raiders but lost to the Jets.

    That loss to the Jets was also their last loss since a 39-26 loss to the New England Patriots in week 10.

    The Steelers had seven weeks to work out the kinks and get geared up for the playoffs against weaker opponents instead of fighting for a playoff spot.

9. Rush Defense

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    Let's dive a little deeper into the Steelers' run defense.

    Pittsburgh has the top ranked run defense in the entire NFL, giving up just under 63 yards per game. They have not had a 100-yard rusher against them this season, and they have only had one guy gain over 80 yards on the ground this year.

    In the playoffs, when running the ball is more important, the fact that they are so good against the run will help them a ton.

8. Mike Wallace

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    Mike Wallace, the self-proclaimed fastest man in football, has become the top receiver on the Steelers.

    This season, he has passed Hines Ward as Big Ben's favored target. Wallace has 60 receptions for just over 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has big-play potential and averages 21 yards per reception.

    In the playoffs, he will be a valuable weapon for Ben Roethlisberger in games where the Steelers will need a big play.

7. Best Chance Against Patriots

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    The Patriots may be the favorites to win the Super Bowl this year but if they were to lose, the Steelers look like the team most likely to do it.

    They can win games in any way. They can run the ball and win a smash-mouth game 10-7 or they can try and outscore you 38-35. Against the Patriots that is a big asset.

6. Troy Polamalu

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    The Steelers are just a different team when Troy Polamalu is playing. At least once a game he seems to make a play that no one else would even think to try.

    He has seven interceptions this season, tying a career high. He also had just his second defensive touchdown when he returned an interception against his former college roommate, Carson Palmer.

    For the Steelers to win the Super Bowl this season, Polamalu needs to be the most important player on defense.

5. Great Running Game

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    In the playoffs, the ability to run the ball is a huge thing. The better the running game, the more difficult the team is to stop.

    The Steelers have a great running game led by third-year pro Rashard Mendenhall.

    Mendenhall had a career high 1,273 yards this season with 13 touchdowns on the ground.

    While Mendenhall is considered a power rusher, he also has 11 runs of 20 or more yards. He has big play potential à la Marshawn Lynch.

4. Mike Tomlin Has Done It Before

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    When Mike Tomlin was hired to replace Bill Cowher, many questioned the choice because of his age and inexperience. He had only been a coordinator for one season with the Minnesota Vikings before he was tabbed as the new head coach of the Steelers.

    He became the youngest head coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl in 2009.

    Tomlin has gone from a relative unknown to one of the most respected coaches in the NFL. If the Steelers lose in the playoffs this year, it won't be because of Tomlin.

3. Relatively Healthy

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    For many of the playoff teams, injuries have become as much of the story for the team as anything else.

    However, the Steelers are one of the healthier teams in the playoffs this year. Troy Polamalu has been dealing with an ankle injury but he is expected to play. Bryant McFadden is also expected to play despite an abdomen injury.

    The only question mark is defensive end Aaron Smith, who has been out since week seven with a triceps injury.

2. Ben Roethlisberger

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    In the NFL right now, there are only five quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl. Of that list of five, only Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger have won it multiple times.

    The experience that Roethlisberger has is invaluable in the playoffs.

    Big Ben is also one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in the playoffs right now. He is the key to any Steelers win—that is magnified in the playoffs.

1. Super Bowl Experience

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    Just two years ago this Steelers' team won the Super Bowl. There hasn't been a ton of turnover on the roster since then, meaning Pittsburgh has a ton more Super Bowl experience than any other team in the playoffs.

    That experience is invaluable when considering their chances this season.

    If they are going to win it all again this year, they will need to rely heavily on that experience.

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