Pittsburgh Steelers: What If They Start Out 4-0?

Nick SignorelliSenior Writer IMay 5, 2010

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 19:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers talks with his teammates Charlie Batch #16 and Dennis Dixon #2 while at practice on April 19, 2010 at the Pittsburgh Steelers South Side training facility in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

When the news came down from the NFL offices that Ben Roethlisberger would be suspended for the first six games of the regular season, Steelers fans everywhere gasped.

There was a sigh of relief when we heard that the suspension could be reduced to four games, but most of us thought that was still too long.

Looking at the first quarter of the Steelers schedule, there is only one game that Steelers fans would say is an easy win: Tampa Bay.

Starting the season out at home against the Atlanta Falcons certainly would not be considered a walk-over game. The Falcons have a young, hot-shot signal caller of their own, Matt Ryan.

In Week Two, the Steelers travel to Tennessee to play the Titans. The Titans are a hated rival and had a very successful second half to the 2009 season. They feature the revitalized Vince Young and the self-described "Best Player in the Game," Chris Johnson.

The Steelers head to Tampa Bay for their Week Three matchup against the Buccaneers. Tampa does not scare a lot of teams, but playing in the heat and humidity in Florida is always problematic for the cold-weather teams.

Then, the (hopefully) last game of Roethlisberger's suspension is at home against the hated Baltimore Ravens. We don't need to get into the bad-blood discussion about the Ravens. We hate them, they hate us. 'Nuff said!

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Most Steelers fans would say that they are hoping for no worse than a 2-2 record after the first quarter. Some are optimistic, and say that they would LOVE to be 3-1. Both would give the Steelers a realistic shot at making the playoffs once Big Ben is again under center.

But, what if they do better?

Think back about six years ago. Tommy Maddox was injured in the second week of the season against the Baltimore Ravens, and then-rookie Ben Roethlisberger came in and immediately threw an interception.

After the game, when the injury to Maddox was confirmed and it was known that Roethlisberger would be starting the rest of the season, no one gave the Steelers much of a chance.

Roethlisberger was supposed to be good one day, but most experts said he would need three years to get there.

So, let's say Dennis Dixon finds a way to beat Leftwich and Batch out of the starter's job.

Falcons: Playing at home would be a great way for Dixon to get broken in. This will not be like last year's sole start where he took very little practice time because Roethlisberger was supposed to be playing in the Ravens game.

Dixon comes out, completes about 17-25 passes for 250 yards and two TDs, and runs for another one, Pittsburgh wins 31-13.

Titans: In traveling to Tennessee, Dixon plays well, but not as spectacular as he would hope. The running game is able to thrive against the depleted Titans defense and the Steelers win, 24-10. Dixon puts up respectable numbers, throwing for 195 yards on 13-17 pass attempts.

Buccaneers: Dixon has the first breakout game of his career against the pathetic Tampa Bay defense. Dixon completes 21 of 26 passes for 320 yards, three scores, and rushes for two more, as the Steelers THOMP the Buccaneers 41-3.

Ravens: With the success against the Buccaneers, Dixon gains all the confidence in the world and puts up great numbers, 18-26, 275 yards, and two TDs. The Steelers win, 27-13.

What happens then?

Do the Steelers turn the reins back to Roethlisberger, the two-time Super Bowl-winning QB, the man that has the largest contract in the history of the Steelers?

Who would be the starter under this scenario?

What is your opinion?