I’m not a huge fan of other’s power rankings as I usually like use the adjusted net yards per passing attempt differential stat to formulate my own. Regardless, it is fun to check in on the other power rankings around the interwebs from time to time to see where they have the Pittsburgh Steelers.
According to the rankings released by ESPN.com this week, the Steelers are ranked 9th overall and are the fourth-best team in the AFC behind the New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos.
Thanks to their win over the Oakland Raiders this past Sunday, the Steelers jumped up four spots in these rankings. I suppose that is fair.
While the Steelers pass defense hasn’t been overly great at times so far through the team’s first 9 games of the 2015 season it is probably worth pointing out the level of offensive competition that they have played against this year, not that it will provide you much comfort.
For starters, if you look at the latest ANY/A offensive rankings through the first nine weeks of the season, you will see that the Steelers have already played five of the top eight teams. Fortunately, they won three of those five games with their two losses being to the Patriots and Bengals.
Sunday at Heinz Field, the Steelers will play the 2-7 Cleveland Browns and even though they’re likely to be without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, one would think that their defense should be able to pick up some of that slack regardless of who starts at quarterback for the visitors.
After failing to register a single sack this past Sunday in their win over the Raiders, the Steelers defense will face a Browns offense that has already allowed a league-high 30 sacks in their first nine games. While the Browns do have two studs on their offensive line in left tackle Joe Thomas and center Alex Mack, they’ll have a rookie making his first career start at left guard against the Steelers in Cameron Erving as Joel Bitonio will miss the game with an ankle injury.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has never lost to the Browns at home during his career. If he fails to notch his ninth straight on Sunday, I expect the Steelers will tumble several spots in these meaningless weekly rankings.