When you’re the last remaining unbeaten team in the NFL, it stands to reason that you’re going to be looked upon pretty favorably. After taking down the Tennessee Titans and the Baltimore Ravens on the road in consecutive weeks, even Pro Football Focus has finally swallowed its tongue and placed the Pittsburgh Steelers in the top five in their power rankings.
As for the power rankings from NFL.com and ESPN, those remain the same from last week. The league’s own website still has the Steelers ranked as the second-best team in the league, behind the only other team with seven wins, the 7-1 Kansas City Chiefs. ESPN, who already had Pittsburgh ahead of Kansas City last week, keeps them there this week.
Another impressive performance by the Steelers, who rattled Lamar Jackson into four turnovers and got their mojo back on offense in a 28-24 win. The defense surrendered 265 yards on the ground to Baltimore, but it made huge plays to swing another one-score game between the two rivals. Robert Spillane set the tone with a pick-six in the first quarter, the front seven swallowed up Jackson on a fourth-and-short draw deep in Steelers territory with two minutes to play, and Minkah Fitzpatrick broke up Jackson’s end-zone pass on the final play of the game to clinch the victory. Pittsburgh’s a talented, well-coached team that knows how to close. That’ll play every week.
The Steelers are 7-0, matching the best start in franchise history, and they’re winning games without dominating opponents. The Steelers trailed by 10 in the first half to the Ravens and, a week earlier, nearly gave up a 20-point lead to the Titans in the second half. But the important thing is the Steelers are finding ways to keep a perfect record — thanks in large part to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and a defense capable of making adjustments on the fly.
It’s notably that in both polls, the Ravens are ranked fifth in the league, but for the NFL’s rankings, that’s a drop of just one, whereas ESPN previously had Baltimore ranked second. The loss to the Steelers on Sunday dealt them a pretty good play in their eyes. A two-game deficit in the AFC North also hurts their cause more globally.