Defense has always been a calling card for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s going to be that way again entering the 2013 season. The Steelers had the number one ranked defense in yards allowed in 2012, and ranked sixth in points allowed averaging 19.6 points per game. I don’t see much of a drop off from what they were in the 2012 season, mainly because their schedule helps them a great deal.
The Steelers face the AFC East and the NFC North where they will be facing offenses with a lot of question marks. The Steelers will square off against AFC East opponents such as the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and the Miami Dolphins. All three of these teams will either feature young-inexperienced quarterbacks or those bound to be career backups.
The Steelers will also also face off against NFC North opponents such as the Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, and the Minnesota Vikings where quarterbacks like Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford, and Christian Ponder are prone to turnovers. At the end of the day, the AFC East and the NFC North work out well for the Steelers whose defense only forced 20 turnovers in the 2012 season.
I think the Steelers’ defense is a unit that should be selected in the top five in anyone’s draft. I know a lot people have issues with the age on the defense, but strong safety Troy Polamalu can still play even at the age of 32 and free safety Ryan Clark is still a valuable commodity.
With edge-rushers such at outside linebacker Lamarr Woodley, and rookie Jarvis Jones, it won’t get any easier for opponents even with James Harrsion gone. I see a stout unit 2013, so don’t sleep on the Steelers’ defense.