Nothing gets the blood pumping quite like discussing power rankings, and thankfully this Wednesday we have a fresh one to discuss, the latest coming from the league’s own website, NFL.com, and the rankings list having been curated by Dan Hanzus, who had the Pittsburgh Steelers ranked 12th heading into the regular season, and quickly changed his tune.
After their week one victory over the Giants, Hanzus moved Pittsburgh up to seventh. After winning in week two, they were moved up to four. While they were not moved up again after beating the Houston Texans, frankly, four is a pretty good position to be in, especially when you really consider how good the three teams ranked above them are.
Those four teams, in order, are the Kansas City Chiefs, the Green Bay Packers, and the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore was previously listed at the top, but with the Chiefs beating them on Monday night, the other two teams moved up one spot. Here is what he wrote about Pittsburgh one spot below:
The Steelers closed the Texans out like Mariano Rivera on Sunday. Mike Hilton’s interception early in the fourth quarter set up a long Pittsburgh touchdown drive, which was followed by a three-and-out by the Houston offense, which was followed by another grinding Steelers drive that ran out the clock. Pittsburgh was outplayed in the first half by a desperate Houston team, but the defense shut out Deshaun Watson and Co. in the second half, finishing with five sacks overall. The running game shined, too, as James Conner and Anthony McFarland Jr. went over 150 yards combined on just 24 carries. The Steelers can beat you in so many ways.
I like how he emphasized the Steelers’ closeout ability. That was really important to show, because it’s something that they lacked in 2018 in what should have been every bit as good of a season as the year before when they went 13-3. The difference was that they couldn’t close out games. In five of the seven games they failed to win (including a tie), they held a lead four times and were tied in another entering the fourth quarter.
To be perfectly honest, I would have the Steelers ranked fifth, however, as I believe the Seattle Seahawks deserve to be a spot above, simply because Russell Wilson is playing out of his mind. The argument is of course that they don’t have the same sort of defense Pittsburgh does—they’ve given up a record 1200 passing yards through three games—but Pittsburgh’s defense isn’t quite the same as last year either.
At least not yet. Truth be told, arguably the most exciting thing about the Steelers right now is the fact that they can be better than they have been so far, perhaps a lot better. The coverage can definitely tighten up, the offense can be in better sync. If they can cross some Ts and dot some Is, they have the ability to be the best team in the league.