The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently hovering around +200 odds to win the AFC North and this is a testament to all the great teams they’ve fielded over the past decade. Despite having age going against them much, much more so than division counterparts in the Baltimore Ravens (+180), Cincinnati Bengals (+200) and Cleveland Browns (+750), Pittsburgh continues to hang around the top of offseason division projections and odds.
Pittsburgh’s defense remained a statistically dominant defense when it comes to total yards but doesn’t strike same fear as when Troy Polamalu, Casey Hampton and James Harrison roamed in their prime or LaMarr Woodley played at a high level. None of those factors are longer in play unless Woodley and Polamalu make a huge recovery in 2013.
So now more than ever it rests on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger‘s shoulders to deliver on the Steelers’ 32-to-1 Super Bowl odds or win-total line of nine, and his ability to continue meshing with offensive coordinator Todd Haley will be crucial.
“I think last year it was new for all of us, so it was Todd’s offense that he brought to us,” Roethlisberger said, via CBS Radio. “This year, I would say it’s more ‘our’ offense. We’ve added things, we’ve deleted things, we’ve all kind of put in our input, players and coaches. Todd’s open to change, and the things we need to improve on to be the best we can be, I feel we’ve done a good job of improving on. … I’m enjoying the opportunity to be a different kind of leader than I’ve been the last couple of years.
“I pulled aside a couple of young guys today, said a few things to them, and I really felt like it resonated with them. To see these guys look at you and have an almost fatherly look towards you–man I’m really old!–It’s fun.”
Disclaimer: The information provided here is merely for the purpose of generating analytical discussion of the NFL.