Related Tags: The Pittsburgh Steelers
As another NFL season winds to the end, the duo of Mike Tomlin and Big Ben Roethlisberger has the Steelers sitting atop of the physical and testing NFC North. Pittsburgh enters week 16 feeling themselves after beating the Patriots Sunday night. For another season, the Steelers control their own destiny, and have the ability to win a third straight AFC North title, and a playoff berth in doing so. The championship will represent 4 AFC North titles in 5 years, a dominating half century for the boys in black and yellow.
Coming into the season, there was an obvious air of awkwardness surrounding All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell, who was never able to work out a contract agreement with Pittsburgh front offices. Bell was accountable for 1,291 yards on the ground and another significant chunk in the air, with another 655 yards receiving. It seemed as if Big Ben was bluffing Preseason, often verbally confirming that he was not worried about Le'veon, and that the Pittsburgh offense had plenty of firepower to make up for the missing superstar. Second year running back James Conner proved Roethlisberger right, producing a season that was rewarded with a Pro Bowl, seeing the back produce 909 yards rushing and 467 receiving in just 11 games.
Behind Pittsburgh's success the whole time has been 36 year-old quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben had his best statistical year in 5 years, collecting a league second-best 4462 yards for the season. The future Hall-of-Fame quarterback has the chance to eclipse his career high 4952 yards just by averaging 295 yards in his last two games. Wideouts JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown both have over 1,000 yards already this season, and have 19 TD’s between the two of them. The domination that Pittsburgh has held over the NFC North has led them to be clinical when they have control of their own destiny. Look for Pittsburgh to close out the season with two performances that will be worthy of closing out another divisional championship.
Looking the Playoff Picture in the AFC, it looks likely for Mike Tomlin to get his Steelers to the postseason for a fifth straight season.
1 - Kansas City Chiefs (11-3): Remaining schedule: at SEA, vs. OAK**
2 - Houston Texans (10-4): at PHI, vs. JAX
3 - New England Patriots (9-5): vs. BUF, vs. NYJ
4 - Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1): at NO, vs. CIN
5 - Los Angeles Chargers (11-3): vs. BAL, at DEN**
6 - Baltimore Ravens (8-6): at LAC, vs. CLE