The Steelers offense was clicking on all cylinders on Sunday night as the Steelers demolished the Colts on National TV. Ben Roethlisberger threw for over 350 yards and he had plenty of weapons to use as Brown, Bryant, and Williams all made significant contributions to the team. The defense even looked decent only gave up 10 points and had two interceptions. Are the Steelers a playoff team? National sportswriters everywhere say look out for Pittsburgh if they make the playoffs. This team has potential and the defense has been better than advertised, though the defense has plenty of holes.
Looking at the matchup prior to the Sunday night clash of the Colts and Steelers it looked on paper to be a decent matchup. The Colts were atop their division and the Steelers are in the thick of the wild card race in the AFC. The AFC South is not a great division, it is being overshowed by how bad the NFC East is currently. The Colts are on their backup quarterback a 40 year old veteran in Matt Hasselbeck and though he has been able to hold down the fort this isn’t the Colts of even last year. If the Colts make the playoffs it by virtue of being the best team in the weakest AFC division. The Colts usually run away with this division and this year they have fallen back to the pack.
The offense has put up 30 or more points the last 4 weeks. The next two weeks for Pittsburgh will go a long way to determining if they make the playoffs. They face two 10- 2 teams in the Cincinnati Bengals and the Denver Broncos. The offense is a very good offense even with the loss of Le’veon Bell it hasn’t missed much of a beat. It’s not as good as the “Greatest Show on Turf” and the 1999-2001 St. Louis Rams, but it is a very good offense when Roethlisberger is healthy. Injuries have played a huge part in the Steelers 7-5 season. The offense is much different and more efficient with Roethlisberger throwing the ball. In the last three weeks he has thrown on average about 400 yards per game.
Next week the Steelers travel to Cincinnati. This is going to be a huge test for the Steelers. They do need to win this game more than Cincinnati needs it. It will be nearly impossible for the Steelers to catch the Bengals. The Steelers do not want to lose ground in the AFC wild card race. Cincinnati’s defense slowed down the Steelers earlier this year. Roethlisberger did play, he had just come back from missing four games. It will be interesting to see what the Steelers can do next week. They can prove to the league that they are a playoff team or that they are mediocre. Even if the offense continues to put up big numbers is that going to be enough? They put up big numbers in Seattle and came away with a loss. Teams like the Bengals can get into shootouts and still win too.
The biggest question is the same from the preseason. Can the Steelers defense make the stops? A question old Steelers fans are not used to hearing. This is a team usually built for defense has made the change to a top notch offensive team. This team that is built on offense will still miss the playoffs if the defense doesn’t make improvements. It was a big win vs the Colts for the Steelers but there is still a lot of room for improvement if they are going to be the dangerous team the national media is talking about.