7-3 at the Bye: Some Things to Reflect on in the First 10 Games

1. Ben Roethlisberger is having his best season – The Steelers QB week in and week out makes daring plays, escapes hard hits and sacks, and usually is able to extend plays to find an open man. He’s the MVP of this team this season, and all the off field issues from a year and a half ago seem long gone.

2. The Defense isn’t as good as in the past, but that’s Ok – They have given up some runs, and of course the Ravens final drive last Sunday still hurts, but overall they have overcome injuries, and the pass defense is as good as it’s been in a long time. They still have issues getting off the field on third down, but you have to admit that the defense once healthy is as good as any in the AFC.

3. The Run game isn’t very good – Through 10 games Rashard Mendenahll is putting up only 60 yards a game, and overall I don’t trust the run game with the game on the line. It might not matter with the season Roethlisberger is having, but it sure would be nice to see a couple more big games from the running backs, and I’d like to see more of Issac Redmen and John Dwyer in the last six regular season games.

4. Polamalu is Still a Beast – When Troy Polamalu comes up to the line of scrimmage, QB’s eyes have to get bigger. He’s still playing at a high level, and while he won’t repeat at NFL Defensive Player of the Year, he’s still playing very well. He has a sack and a defensive TD, and here’s thinking he will have a couple more game changing plays before it’s all said and done.

5. The remainder of the schedule is a cakewalk – Other than a Monday night game in San Fran, the Steelers seem poised to win 5 games of their final 6, which would make them 12-4 on the season, and with the Ravens tripping over teams like the Jags and Seahawks, that could be enough to win the AFC North. Two games with the awful Browns, a game at KC, home for the Bengals, and the 2-7 Rams is what’s left. Again, they have to beat the Ravens outright since they lost two games to them already.

6. Antonio Brown is a Star in the Making – Brown made some amazing plays Sunday in Cincy, and he seems poised to be the next Hines Ward on this team. In 10 games he has 44 games for 626 yards with a touchdown. Combined with Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and Ward, he is a big part to what has become the best WR core in the league.

7. The AFC is Wide Open – Is there a team in the AFC that truly scares you? That’s what I thought. The AFC has two 7 win teams (Steelers and Texans), three 6 win teams (Patriots, Ravens and Bengals) and 7 teams that have 5 or 4 wins. The Steelers can hang and can beat anyone in this conference, and that means getting to the Super Bowl is not as far fetched as it seems like it may have been heading into 2011.

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