The Pittsburgh Steelers are sitting at 5-3 in the midst of a four-game winning streak, overcoming an early-season three-game skid in which they dropped games to admittedly good opponents in the Las Vegas Raiders, the Cincinnati Bengals, and then the Green Bay Packers. They have a chance to notch their fifth straight win hosting the winless Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Don’t think that they are taking this lightly, however. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger understands that, regardless of what their record might say, the Steelers themselves are far from being among the elites in the league right now.
“Listen, we’re not exactly the best team in football right now”, he told reporters earlier today when he was asked if they have to sort of ‘fight human nature’ to overlook a team like the Lions, who haven’t been able to win a game so far this season.
“We’ve got a winning record, but if you ask most of the guys in this building, I would think most of them would tell you we’ve got a long way to go”, he went on. “I know Coach will pull his ‘nameless, gray faces’ and all these different things, but honestly, they’re an NFL team that’s gonna come in here and want to beat us, and we want to beat them. I don’t look at the records or worry about who they are. They’re trying to get a win and so far we”.
Considering the Steelers have been winning nail-biters virtually going down to the wire—a couple of defensive turnovers had to close out the Broncos and Seahawks, for example, and they had to execute a game-winning drive with two minutes to play this past Sunday—it is certainly prudent for them to understand that their own record could quite easily more closely resemble that of Detroit’s.
It is almost always the case that the margin between a win and a loss—and a winning record and a losing record—is slim. A team like that Baltimore Ravens could just as easily be at the bottom of the division right now without a few plays in each game changing their fates.
And yes, even a team like the Lions could have a few victories this season if not for this or that moment in a game. Granted, they have lost each of their past three games by multiple possessions, but past results don’t always predict future performance.
Given the fact that the Steelers’ schedule after this week consists of back-to-back road games against the Chargers and Bengals before hosting the Ravens—and then playing the Titans, Chiefs, Browns, and Ravens in their final four games—there’s plenty of tough sledding ahead of them.
Let’s get this one out of the way first before we start worrying about what’s to come.