The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, in which they entered with big aspirations, in spite of a tumultuous start to the offseason. Significant players were lost via trade and free agency, players who have helped shape the course of the franchise in recent years. We even now sit here without Ben Roethlisberger after just two games.
The team made some bold moves this offseason and in some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago. That would especially be the case at wide receiver and inside linebacker, where they have new starters. And quarterback was suddenly added to that list.
How will the season progress without Roethlisberger, behind Mason Rudolph, and now Devlin Hodges? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in games? Who is sitting out due to injury?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will the Steelers have a game to play next week?
Well…this is the question, isn’t it? It’s not even about whether or not the Steelers win today. Technically, they could win and be eliminated…or they could lose and advance. It’s all in the hands of other teams, primarily the Tennessee Titans, but the simplest way is for the Steelers to win and the Titans to lose. Under those circumstances, Pittsburgh plays, likely, the Kansas City Chiefs next week.
It was just a short time ago that this was a 8-5 team in control of its playoff fate. While the division had by then already seemed rather unlikely, they needed only to win two of their final three games to guarantee a spot in the playoffs. Now they are just trying to win their final game after dropping the past two, needing help to move on.
It’s not where they want to be, but it is where they were just last year. They didn’t get the requisite help then, and it’s hard to be confident of them getting it now. You see, the Houston Texans are the Titans’ opponent, and they don’t have much to play for, especially if the Chiefs win prior to kickoff. We’ve already seen reports last night that the Texans plan to play conservative, as would be expected.
As we get set to kick off for this evening’s game, it’s obvious valuable to retain the perspective that this may be the last Steelers game you see for a good, long while. If that is the case, then it certainly has been quite an adventure.