The Pittsburgh Steelers currently have the best record in the AFC at 6-2, although they have been far from perfect this season.
Here are five things that the Steelers need to improve on going forward for the rest of the season to ensure a strong finish to 2011.
The Steelers defense has always been known for stopping the run and, so far in 2011, it has not been as dominant as usual.
They have given up two 100-yard rushing games so far, both losses, and have given up 100 team rushing yards to four teams.
After a couple of good run-stuffing weeks, the Steelers have gotten to eighth in the league in run defense. However, they need to really tighten up this area going forward.
More uncharacteristically, the Steelers are dead last in the NFL with only three total takeaways and a turnover differential of -10.
The defense as a whole has seemed to be getting better recently and I have no doubt that the turnovers will come eventually.
Rashard Mendenhall was seventh in the league last season with 1273 rushing yards and second in the league with 13 touchdowns.
This season, Rashard only has 421 yards and three touchdowns through eight games and he only has one 100-yard game the entire season.
The Steelers need Rashard, Isaac Redman, Mewelde Moore or whoever is back there to run downhill and give the offense some kind of balanced attack.
The offense has not looked that bad and sometimes has been explosive for the Steelers this season. However, it doesn’t always lead to points.
The Steelers are currently 19th in the NFL in points per game with 22.0 and, too many times, it seems they are settling for short field goals instead of touchdowns.
That number is skewed slightly from their two losses where they scored only seven and 10 points respectively. Regardless, the Steelers definitely need to start scoring more touchdowns.
As I stated in my previous slide, the Steelers offense looks unstoppable sometimes and then also the defense can look dominating.
Then there are the times when it seems like Bruce Arians is actually trying to lose the game on offense and the defense will get gashed for a bunch of yards.
I have faith that both sides of the ball will get the job done, especially with Dick LeBeau coaching the defense. However, Bruce Arians is terrible and the offense suffers at times because of this.