2017 South Side Questions: Feeling Good About Super Bowl Odds?

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: How do you feel about the Steelers’ prospects of winning the Super Bowl this season?

Though it’s getting published on the second day of the new year, this is the first article that I’m writing in 2018, so I thought I would make it an open-ended and reflective question today. Now that the regular season has ended, how do you feel about the Steelers’ odds of bringing home a seventh Lombardi this year?

Considering the fact that they finished the regular season with the best record that they have had since 2004, and have secured their highest seeding in the postseason since 2010, one would have to gather that their chances of winning it all this year is better than it typically is.

Ben Roethlisberger finished the regular season putting up numbers worthy of MVP consideration in the back half, while Le’Veon Bell also looked to be at his best late, and the wide receiver group—and tight ends—all began producing more. The offense scored about 30 points per game in that time period.

The defense, on the other hand, took a step back. Much of that had to do with missing Joe Haden for six games, and now that he is back, hopefully there will be a curve back toward an equilibrium. But it’s not as though there is an adequate replacement for Ryan Shazier.

And Antonio Brown not being at 100 percent—at least I would assume—is not ideal. Of course, he still put up numbers playing with an injured toe. And so did JuJu Smith-Schuster playing with an injured hamstring. And so did Martavis Bryant with an injured ego.

The Steelers’ path to the Super Bowl likely will be a difficult one, but then again, when is it not? It’s difficult to see from an outsider’s perspective, as well. What team would look forward to facing the Steelers? Especially with Roethlisberger under center, they are never an easy out.

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