The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Will either the Steelers or the Patriots lose another game before their showdown in Week 15?
I would imagine that this is a question that a lot of you are wondering—a question that obviously does not have an answer yet—and considering we’re on a Sunday on which the Steelers are not playing, I thought it would be a good idea to put it out there for discussion.
Pittsburgh has won their past five games since opening up the season 3-2, now sitting at 8-2, which is currently in sole possession of first place for the best record in the conference. The only team that has the possibility of tying them is the Patriots, heading into today’s game in Mexico against the Raiders with a 7-2 record, winners of their past five games as well.
Before we get to the December 17 showdown at Heinz Field between these top two teams, the Steelers have three more games to play. They will host a Brett Hundley-led Packers team a week from today, and then the Ravens two weeks after that, sandwiched around a visit to Cincinnati. The Ravens and Packers play each other today in a game that will determine if the latter will have a winning record when they face the Steelers.
As for the Patriots, after ‘visiting’ the ‘home’ team Raiders in Mexico City this evening, they will play the Dolphins twice in three weeks, with a Monday Night game in Miami the week before visiting Pittsburgh. They will also be in Buffalo in between.
The Bills are currently 5-4, but losers of two straight, and having just benched their quarterback in a signal of a long-term move—certainly not because they think Nathan Peterman gives them a better chance to win now, or at least I would hope. The Dolphins are 4-5 after losing three in a row.
The Steelers and Patriots currently own by far the longest winning streak in the AFC at five games. The Jaguars’ three-game streak is the only one that is close; no other team has won even two in a row, and in fact 12 of the 16 AFC teams have lost their last game.