My utopia arrives tonight with the kickoff for the 2010 NFL season. I would love to pick the Steelers to win their seventh Super Bowl title like Sports Illustrated’s Peter King did.
I can’t due to the offensive question marks of this year’s squad, which will be without its superstar QB Ben Roethlisberger for four games, and lost its best receiver and offensive lineman from last season in Santonio Holmes and Willie Colon, respectively.
Pittsburgh finished a disappointing 9-7 in 2009 and this year’s team is no better on paper. Yes, an aging defense could revert back to 2008 form when it was one of the best units in NFL history. But that is predicated on the continued health of S Troy Polamalu and DE Aaron Smith, both of who missed large portions of the 2007 and 2009 seasons in which the Steelers’ defense struggled without them.
In other words, both are now injury-prone veterans and it goes against logic to count on both remaining healthy all season. If that happens, though, this team can get into the playoffs, where it would have a decent chance of winning against any opponent in any stadium.
Take comfort in that I predicted the 2004 Steelers to finish 7-9 and they instead posted a 15-1 record. Likewise, with the schedule, depth and returning talent, I pegged the 2009 Steelers to finish 15-1, only to watch them go 9-7 in one of the most painful and frustrating Pittsburgh seasons since the early 1970s.
In other words, the Steelers often underachieve when they are supposed to be good and overachieve when they are projected to be mediocre or worse. The Ravens are picked by most to win the AFC North and few experts even have the Steelers in the playoffs. Here’s hoping the experts, including myself, are wrong. For now, though, here are my 2010 NFL picks:
(3) Jets over (6) Bengals
(4) Ravens over (5) Pats
(3) Saints over (6) Falcons
(5) Vikings over (4) 49ers
(1) Colts over (4) Ravens
(3) Jets over (2) Chargers
(5) Vikings over (1) Packers
(2) Cowboys over (3) Saints
(3) Jets over (1) Colts
(2) Cowboys over (5) Vikings
Cowboys over Jets