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Pittsburgh Steelers – AFC North Preview

by Alexander Banks on Friday, August 10th, 2007

Pittsburgh Steelers - AFC North PreviewRookie Head Coach Mike Tomlin was hired to return a talented Pittsburgh Steelers team back to prominence. Most of the core players from the 2005 Super Bowl Champion team remain but the team must get more consistent play from QB Ben Rothlisberger. There will be an adjustment period with Tomlin and a new offensive coordinator, however the Steelers have the ability to reach the post season again. SBG Global have made the Pittsburgh Steelers +2200 odds to win the 2008 Super Bowl XLII.

On offense, Pittsburgh will be looking to throw the ball with more regularity under new coordinator Bruce Arians. The Steelers will continue to be primarily a running team but Big Ben will be relied on more to score points. QB Roethlisberger, at his best, is an improvising leader with a big-time arm. After an off season last year marred with incidents, Ben looked rusty when he returned to the field. Look for Ben to bounce back strong in 2007. Willie Parker has emerged as RB in the upper echelon of the NFL. Parker can fly with his 4.3 speed. With more experience, Parker has the potential to be even better.

RB Najeh Davenport is a nice complement to Parker with his power and speed in the open field. WR Hines Ward might just be the best player in the game from an intangible perspective. Hines isn’t the most physically gifted wideout, but he brings toughness, intensity and intelligence every game day. The O-Line must tighten up after allowing Roethlisberger to get sacked 46 times. Pro Bowl LG Alan Faneca still opens holes with the best of them, but the right side has some leaks.

Their was concern among the Steelers faithful that 4-3 minded Head Coach Tomlin would abandon the long standing 3-4. Although Tomlin will use more cover 2 schemes, the D will remain the same for the most part. The Defensive Line is a team strength. DE Aaron Smith is a tenacious player that gets off his blocks very well. Massive Nose Tackle Casey Hampton is an immovable object in the middle. DE Brett Keisel is a hustling player who is an outstanding pass rusher. The Linebacking position has a mixture of aging and young players that are tough. ILB James Farrior is no spring chicken but he continues to make plays all over the gridiron, year in and year out.

The Steelers added a couple of young backers in the draft with Lawerence Timmons and Lamarr Woodley, both of whom are a nice fit for the 3-4. The Secondary is led by the best Safety in football, Troy Polamalu. Polamalu combines with up-and-coming FS Anthony Smith to form a dynamic duo. CB Ike Taylor failed to live up to his big contract last year and was benched. Although he is very strong jamming receivers at the line, he needs to play the deep ball much better. CB Bryant McFadden is a raw talent in pass coverage and a sure tackler in run support. McFadden could develop into a premier corner by season’s end. Head Coach Tomlin vows to use the best talent available on Special Teams units this season, starters included. The comeback of electric return man Willie Reid from injury will provide an instant boost to the Special Teams. Kicker Jeff Reed has a dependable leg but is coming off a down year.

If the Pittsburgh Steelers get great production from Quarterback Ben Rothlisberger, the sky is the limit. This team is still loaded with talent but much depends on how the players adapt to the coaching changes and their desire to win.

If the Pittsburgh Steelers get great production from Quarterback Ben Rothlisberger, the sky is the limit. This team is still loaded with talent but much depends on how the players adapt to the coaching changes and their desire to win.

Brad Marchetti Opening Day Pittsburgh Steelers Power Ratings: 20-80 Scale

20- Poor
30- Well Below Average
40- Below Average
50- Average
60- Above Average
70- Very Good
80- Great

Coaching: 60
Quarterback : 65
Backs : 65
Receivers : 60
Offensive Line : 55
Defensive Line : 65
Linebackers : 65
Secondary : 60
Special Teams : 60

SBG Global have posted NFL betting odds to win the 2008 Super Bowl XLII:

COLTS +695

CHARGERS +505

BENGALS +1700

PATRIOTS +300

RAVENS +1800

BRONCOS +1800

STEELERS +2200

CHIEFS +4000

BEARS +1400

SEAHAWKS +1600

PANTHERS +1400

SAINTS +1500

GIANTS +2200

COWBOYS +1200

EAGLES +1200

REDSKINS +4500

RAMS +4000

CARDINALS +4000

JAGUARS +2000

DOLPHINS +4000

JETS +3800

BILLS +7500

TITANS +4500

VIKINGS +9000

FALCONS +4000

BUCCANEERS +4250

49ERS +3750

PACKERS +4500

LIONS +10500

TEXANS +6500

BROWNS +7000

RAIDERS +15000  
 

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