AFC North Preview- Pittsburgh Steelers

The Champs are here, and not much has changed from the Super Bowl team from a year ago. One thing that you need to have for a championship ball club is balance on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. If there is one thing that is true about the Pittsburgh Steelers, is that they always have had balance on both sides of the ball throughout their franchise history, which has led them to a NFL-best Six Super Bowls, and with the same team virtually in place for the 2009 NFL Season, they are primed for a seventh.

On offense the Steelers are returning all 11 of their starters, and with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger leading the way, the Steelers are one of the best offenses in the NFL. They have the ability to mix the run and pass. Rashard Mendenhall and Willie Parker will be a good running duo, but I do see Mendenhall being ready to take more of the snaps. Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes are the two top receivers, but the #3 receiver in Nate Washington moved on to Tennessee, so expect a competition for Pittsburgh’s #3 receiver. Washington knew how to get deep from the slot position, so whoever is his replacement will have to do that. A speedster like Mike Wallace would be perfect for that position.

On Defense, the starters are intact except for Larry Foote and Bryant McFadden. The big priority was made when the Super Bowl MVP James Harrison signed an extension to stay in the Steel City. Harrison and the improved play of Lawrence Timmons at inside linebacker will offset the loss of Foote. William Gay (best known for his “yeaaaaah” at the Super Bowl parade) will be replacing McFadden, who left the champions for the runners up, the Cardinals. Gay is excellent in covering the pass, and the defense under Dick LeBeau will still be the best defense in the NFL. After all, the defense is what wins championships.

The Steelers are primed for a repeat. If they stay healthy and continue to gel as the unit they have been last season, there will be a seventh Super Bowl in the Steel City.

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