ESPN released its training camp NFL power rankings today, and they simply don’t like the Pittsburgh Steelers right now. The Steelers open training camp as the 19th ranked team in the league (according to ESPN) sandwiched between the Tennessee Titans (Pittsburgh’s Week 2 opponent) and the Washington Redskins.
The writeup: “The first four to six games without QB Ben Roethlisberger could make or break their season.”
Even without Roethlisberger, I’m still not sure that the Steelers are worse than several of the teams ranked ahead of them, including the Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers.
For all the questions surrounding the Steelers right now, the fighting Whisenhunts are prepared to go into the season with some combination of Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson under center, while also having to replace Anquan Boldin, Antrel Rolle and Karlos Dansby. The only thing they have going for them is the NFC West, which is kind of like the NFL’s Junior Varsity Division. Eight wins could win that thing this year.
Andre Johnson is a beast in Houston, but the Texans are one of those teams that I’m always pumped up about before the season starts, only to watch them underachieve for eight weeks before kicking it into gear when it’s already too late to make a difference.
Of course, we shouldn’t be too upset. The New Orleans Saints won the whole damn thing last season and aren’t even given the top spot.