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NFL lines- Pittsburgh Steelers 2011-2012 Team Preview

Posted by Brett Nielson on 8/3/2011 9:25:37 AM

Mike Tomlin’s Pittsburgh Steelers will be looking to make some noise in the post-season in aspiring to reach the NFL lines Super Bowl for the 4th time in seven years.
2010-2011 Season
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. NFL: 12-4
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. AFC North: 5-1

NorthBet Numbers: The Pittsburgh Steelers were 10-6 ATS this season.

Offense: B+

Under center, the Steelers have wealth in their franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Despite all his off-field distractions last year, 6’5” Ben Roethlisberger had a remarkable  NFL lines  season. With a 97 passer rating and throwing for a career-low 5 interceptions, Roethlisberger remains one of the NFL`s premier quarterbacks. Even after missing the first four games due to suspension, Big Ben managed to throw for 3,200 yards demonstrating his skill and clutch ability.

During Big Ben`s absence in the first 4 games last season, the Steelers` running game – led by Rashard Mendenhall – carried their team. Mendenhall is a force in the running back position at 5`10”, 225 pounds, combining both speed and power. The 24-year-old bruiser ran for 1,273 yards and 13 touchdowns this NFL lines season, to go along with 4 playoff touchdowns. To boot, Mendenhall had 11 runs of 20 yards or longer (5th among rushers) last year. Isaac Redman, who averaged 4.8 yards per carry in his first season as a starter, should continue to be used sparingly.

Much like their transition at the running back position, Pittsburgh also underwent a major transformation in their receiving corps. Veteran Hines Ward went from having a stellar 2009 season (receiving a total of 1,167 yards) to a poor 2010 showing (totaling a mere 755).

Ward will be succeeded by one of the youngest receiving corps in the NFL. In his second professional season, receiver Mike Wallace finished with 1,257 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, leading the AFC with an average of 21 yards per catch.  Steelers` rookie receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown will figure to continue improving this season, having combined for over 500 catching yards. Both are expected to shoulder heavier loads of increased playing time.

With a strong quarterback and receiving corps, the offensive line will be the weakest link in Pittsburgh’s offense. The Steelers suffered many blows to the line last year, causing them to have one of the worst reputations at this position. 36-year-old right tackle Flozell Adams was the only lineman to start every game last season, which does not say much for the stability this team has in its offensive line. However, there are some positive aspects to take from Pittsburgh’s offensive line last season including the emergence of young linesmen 22-year-old Maurkice Pouncey and 28-year-old Chris Kemoeatu. Puoncey was a true revelation last NFL lines season, as he managed to be selected to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season. Chris Kemoeatu is another player with substantial potential, capable of solid play, though he is somewhat inconsistent. In addition, the Steelers selected Marcus Gilbert – with their second pick in this year’s Draft – who should be an immediate starter at guard.

The Steelers’ offensive line is nothing out of the ordinary, and much of their offensive production will be credited to Mendenhall and how rapidly Big Ben can adapt to his emerging receivers.

Defense: A+

As it has been for the past few season, Pittsburgh has one of the best defensive corps in the entire NFL. To start, their defensive linemen have also been one of the best in the league for quite some time (they allowed only 62.8 rushing yards per game last season, 1st in the league). Defensive ends Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel and tackle Casey Hampton are all former Pro Bowlers, with Hampton being selected 5 times. However, the Steelers’ defensive line has been showing some signs of aging. For example, Aaron Smith missed the last 13 games of this season, and has had his 3 past NFL lines seasons cut short due to various injuries. Though, despite the age of their starters, the Steelers do withhold some young prospects at the position that could step up at a moment’s notice (like 24-year-old Ziggy Hood did last year). Defensive end Cameron Heyward was also drafted in the first round this year and should at least be a situational player, adding invaluable depth at an already solidified position.

Moving on, Pittsburgh also has one of the NFL’s best linebackers, as they led the league in sacks (48) last NFL lines season. Outside linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley are clearly on the top of their game – and have been for quite some time now – spectacularly reaching double-digit sack totals in three consecutive seasons. Though, one of last season’s best performers was James Farrior, who ranked second on the team with 109 tackles and a career-high 6 sacks. 25-year-old inside linebackerLawrence Timmons led the team with 135 tackles and should prove to be a suitable mentor for Jason Worilds, the Steelers’ second–round Draft pick.

Last season the Steelers led the NFL in scoring defense (232 points allowed), had the second-best opposing passer rating (73.1), and had the second–most interceptions (21) in the AFC. Most of these stats can be attributed to All-Star safety Troy Polamalu – the NFL’s 2010 Defensive Player of the Year.

Overall:  

The Steelers have enough of a skilled and experienced roster to once again make it deep in the playoffs However, much of their success will depend on whether age will affect their defense, where 5 of 7 front starters will be 32 years or older.

Though the Steelers have the offensive tools to score and win games through Rashard Mendenhall and Ben Roethlisberger –who can carry their team through the playoffs – the Steelers’ aging defense may not hold out to help their team accomplish another NFL lines Super Bowl trip.

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