Despite going just 8-8 and missing the playoffs in 2012, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a pretty good shot at the 2014 Super Bowl, with 25/1 odds. That puts them just outside of the top-10 for 2013, at number 11 overall to be exact, and means the betting Gods think they’ll be better in 2013.
I tend to agree. After all, the Steelers still have great experience on defense, have grizzly veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger still under center, and also added a legit bell cow in rookie running back Le’Veon Bell.
Why so much optimism? For one, the Steelers weren’t a bad football team in 2012. They actually played in a pretty tough division that yielded two playoff teams and the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Their record also doesn’t really do them justice, either, as they were once sitting in a good spot at 7-5, but dropped three of their last four contests to finish at .500.
Also working in their favor is the way they fell to opponents, as they lost just two games all year by 10+ points, and otherwise saw their games generally decided by a touchdown or less.
Rolling into the new season, the Steelers know they’re better than their 2012 paper suggests. They lost field-stretching wide receiver Mike Wallace and may not have tight end Heath Miller fully back for the start of the season (torn ACL), but they’ve added a versatile, bruising back to their offense and have two talented wide receivers ready to step up and take over.
On the other side of the ball, they still have a scary defense so long as safety Troy Polamalu can stay healthy, while rookie outside linebacker Jarvis Jones should provide a spark in their pass-rush rotation, if not make a huge impact as an eventual starter.
Ultimately, the Steelers weren’t nearly as bad as people think in 2012, and they’ve made enough key adjustments to be right back in the thick of things when it comes to the race for their division and the playoffs. Whether or not that means a deep run to their seventh Super Bowl remains to be seen, but at this point the odds suggest you can’t count Pittsburgh out.
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