One last time for power rankings, I suppose, before actual football events begin to impact how people rank each team’s individual—uh—power. One last time, specifically, for NFL.com and Dan Hanzus, who submitted his final power rankings update before the Kansas City Chiefs kick off the 2020 regular season tomorrow night.
The biggest concern entering training camp in Pittsburgh revolved around the physical condition of Ben Roethlisberger, the franchise star QB attempting to come back from surgery to repair tears to all three ligaments in his throwing elbow. That no longer seems to be a worry as we enter Week 1. The Athletic reported last week that Big Ben “made every throw possible over the three-week camp and was impressive doing it.” That news should spark a huge sigh of relief for Steelers fans who are undoubtedly aware that team management didn’t leave themselves much of a safety net in the event that Roethlisberger had a setback or struggled mightily. Tragedy averted, the Steelers look locked and loaded with an offense that should return to top-five status in the AFC after a down year.
The positive camp, however, didn’t seem to convince Hanzus that the Steelers should rise in the rankings, even as the Indianapolis Colts above them fell, one spot, from 10 to 11, swapping places with the Minnesota Vikings, who acquired Yannick Ngakoue. Personally, Ben Roethlisberger over Philip Rivers alone makes the Steelers more…powerful…than the Colts.
In truth, I feel better about Pittsburgh’s prospects for this season than I have in just about any other year since perhaps 2012, a season that started off promisingly, going 6-3 in the first nine games, before a Roethlisberger injury led to a landslide finish.
This is probably the most balanced team the Steelers have fielded since around that time, the 2010-2012 period, and certainly the best defense that they have had since then. The offense is not the most talented they have ever had, but it is more than sufficient to succeed.
The biggest issue will be keeping everybody healthy. obviously, that goes especially for Roethlisberger, and there is reason for pause here, because we really don’t know how well he will play or how well his elbow will hold up throughout the season. But you can put me in the optimistic category all the same.