Pittsburgh Steelers: Why Arizona Could Be the Most Important Game of the Season

Joseph BrunoCorrespondent IOctober 18, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 16:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a second quarter pass while playing the Jacksonville Jaguars at Heinz Field on October 16, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Going into 2011 the Pittsburgh Steelers were considered one of the top tier teams in the league. However, all of that changed after being destroyed by the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1.

The Steelers followed that up by handling the Seattle Seahawks and barely beating the Peyton Manning-less Indianapolis Colts.

Most thought a Week 4 matchup with the Houston Texans would be a good barometer to how good this Steelers’ team actually is.

So it was disappointing to say the least when the offensive line seemingly decided they were too good to block for anyone and the defense allowed Arian Foster to rush for over 150 yards in a loss.

Now the Steelers sit at 4-2 after a dominating win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 5 and beating the Jacksonville Jaguars after struggling to close out the second half.  

Even though not every one of their wins has looked great, a win is a win in the NFL and the only thing the team can do is improve and move forward.

So now that brings us to Week 7 where the Steelers play the 1-4 Arizona Cardinals who are coming off their bye week.

The Cardinals have been pretty bad this year and this is a game the Steelers should have no problem winning.

The only problem is that the Steelers have a bad habit of playing down to their competition just like in their close wins against the Colts and Jaguars.

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 16: Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the game on October 16, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Another thing to look at is the fact that after the Cardinals, the Steelers play the New England Patriots and then the rematch against the Ravens in consecutive weeks.

The team needs to stay focused this week and make sure they don’t just start looking past the Cardinals and end up creating a trap game for themselves.

This game against the Cardinals could end up being one of the most important for the Steelers this season because they would be 5-2 going into two of the last three real tough games on the schedule.

After the Ravens, the Steelers have the Bengals, a bye week, the Chiefs, the Bengals, the Browns, the 49ers, the Rams and the Browns.

Even though division games are never easy, I expect the Steelers to take at least three out of the four games between the Bengals and Browns, and the Chiefs and Rams are terrible this season.

That leaves the now 5-1 San Francisco 49ers who are flying high at the moment and could pose the last threat to the Steelers at the end of the season.

The Steelers will take care of the Cardinals like they should, and the absolute worst case scenario is they lose both games against the Patriots and Ravens, which would drop them to 5-4.

Then if you look at the schedule again you see that they would maybe have two more losses in there, if that, making the Steelers 10-6 on the year and in great position to make the playoffs.

That is a worst case scenario however, and I honestly can see the Steelers not losing another game this season and going 14-2 or at worst going 12-4.

I know they have not looked dominate so far in 2011, although I think a lot of people are severely underrating them and they will be surprised when the Steelers win the Super Bowl, again.

It all starts this week against the Cardinals, though, and the Steelers need to stop messing around with bad teams and just put them away.