Pittsburgh Steelers: Super Bowl or Bust

Every year fans and analysts alike make their predictions of the most likely teams to make the Super Bowl. Steelers are on the list almost every year, and for good reason. Everybody from Pittsburgh will vote them in because the Steelers are among the biggest fan bases in America, and reporters like to vote them in since they have one of the highest winning percentages in football. They won six Lombardis for a reason. At the end of the day though, votes and popularity isn’t what it takes to get to the biggest game of the year. It’s the team who wins games, and Pittsburgh just added another knight to their army by signing Joe Haden from the Cleveland Browns. He may be that small switch that makes a giant difference towards making a deep playoff run this season.

Steelers have been praised for their offense for quite a while now. They have the “Three B’s”, and that statement alone people already will recognize Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell. It’s definitely not an exaggeration either, considering that Brown and Bell are generally selected within the first four picks of the first round in every single fantasy football draft. Despite being such a high octane offense, the Steelers have still been falling short when it comes to making the Super Bowl. Certainly their offense isn’t to blame for this! Perhaps they need a big boost in their defense. After all, defenses do win championships, and Pittsburgh has done just that. Instead of having the Three B’s on offense, the Steelers could have their own version of a holy trinity on their defense as well. Look at some of these names they have who have very Pro Bowl worthy potential. They have James Harrison, who not only has intimidated Father Time himself into submission, but is the very definition of a beast. To compliment him on the line backing core they draft TJ Watt, the hopeful younger brother of JJ Watt from Wisconsin. Now they have Joe Haden, a great shut down corner to help out the defensive backs while the line backers and defensive ends bring the pressure. Those three names alone could be the big “it” factor the Steelers need defensively — they could be their own Big Three.

The defense hasn’t been the only factor stopping the Steelers the past seven years from a Super Bowl appearance. There’s been two major factors in their way: Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. With Manning gone it helps Pittsburgh’s chances, but with Brady around it’s still a fight to the finish between the two franchises. Granted Brady is officially in his 40’s now, you can’t count out anything with the Patriots as long as Belichick is still around. The NFC West will be a big factor in the playoffs this year as well, with every team looking to be young and dominant. The Steelers will have their competition for sure, and ultimately it may come down to something as simple as if the team can stay healthy. The past two seasons Roethlisberger has been hit with injuries and hasn’t played all 16 games. Same goes for Le’Veon Bell with his suspensions, or being hurt for key playoff games. If Steelers want to stay in the race this year, they’ll want to shoot for a #1 or #2 seed and guarantee the home field advantage for another deep playoff run.

Anything can happen during the upcoming season, which is why we’re told every game is “any given Sunday”. Steelers fans have quite a bit to be excited for, and should feel safe in knowing that once again they should be the strongest team in their division. Mike Tomlin wants another championship in his repertoire, and he knows that time is running out with how many years Roethlisberger has left in him. On top of that, Tomlin has received some criticism at his head coaching abilities. One of the critics coming from Terry Bradshaw himself last year. Tomlin seems to be a motivated type of man, and shutting the critics down once and for all may bet he motivation he needs to get to Super Bowl LII this year.

Top 5 Teams To Look Out For in 2017

There are lots of teams that fans and analysts are keeping an eye out for based on super bowl potential or for making the playoffs last year. Here I’ve made a list of top teams to look out for, even if they’re not necessarily playoff hopeful, it’s still teams with redeeming potential this year. Big changes can make bigger ripple affects among franchises, and some of those changes can be as little as one player. These are the most interesting teams to watch for the 2017 season:

#5 – Los Angeles Rams.

Jeff Fisher is gone, which means the 7-9 curse is finally lifted. Although they’re probably not playoff hopeful this year, they have a lot to look forward to. They currently rest in arguably the weakest division in the NFC, which could potentially help the Rams gain traction. Jared Goff is officially starting, and we will find out if he’s ready for the task. At least he’ll have some help with Sammy Watkins as a great target to throw to, and Todd Gurley is up in the air on whether he wants to be a booming sleeper or a troubling bust. Considering that defenses will have to focus on eligible receivers rather than stacking the box on Gurley every play, he definitely has potential this year. Not only will we see what the new and improved offense is capable of, but don’t forget about Aaron Donald this year, who was just voted #15 in NFL’s Top 100.

#4 – Miami Dolphins.

After getting a Wild Card slot in the playoffs last year, the Dolphins looked like they could coast under the Patriots once again. That is, until Tannehill tore his ACL and the team looked ready to crash and burn. People believe that’s still immanent by signing Jay Cutler, who hasn’t played a snap since November, but the logic seems sound on their decision. Adam Gase and Cutler have worked together before, and with Jarvis Landry to throw it to, a promising young running back in Jay Ajayi, and a defense that looks in tip top shape, this could be a good year for Miami. Fantasy football players have been eagerly waiting for DeVante Parker to break out, and for a guy who is a deep threat having a quarterback with the arm strength such as Cutler, this could be fate.

#3 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This one seems too easy on the list. Football analysts have been hyping the Bucs for months now, along with being the focus on HBO’s current season of Hard Knocks. With Jaemis Winston leading the charge in his third season, having a healthy Doug Martin back, sharing great chemistry with players such as Gerald McCoy and Kwon Alexander on an under rated defense, plus picking up DeSean Jackson to compliment Mike Evans on the other side of the field, then fans have every reason to be hype this season. What puts Tampa Bay a tad higher on this list is considering that they’re hungry for the playoffs this year. The Bucs haven’t been in the post season for ten consecutive seasons, and the NFC south has a strange curse where the team who was in first place the year before usually ends up in last place the following year. That’s not good news for the Atlanta Falcons.

#2 – Philadelphia Eagles.

This team might be a big sleeper lost behind the Cowboys and Giants in the NFC Beast. Carsen Wentz is coming into his second year, and looks more precise and confident than his rookie season. The Eagles dropped both the Matthews — Jordan and Ryan — and despite the losses almost look in better shape. This team is young, it’s talented, and it’s loaded on both sides of the field. Eagles acquired Ronald Darby from the Buffalo Bills in that triangle trade, and Darby’s first call to action was to pick off Tyrod Taylor in the preseason. Add Malcolm Jenkins and Derek Barnett to that mix and that’s a pretty deadly defense rising up this year. We’ll all be in anticipation on what Carsen Wentz can do with Alshon Jeffrey to throw it to.

#1 – Kansas City Chiefs.

This team shouldn’t be a surprise on why it’s good. They won their division last year, despite the AFC West being extremely tough and talented, but only because of Derek Carr going down on a key injury on the Raiders. Andy Reid knows it. He also knows that despite a very talented team, he’s not going to a super bowl any time soon with Alex Smith under center. Everyone’s eyes are now on Patrick Mahomes to see if and when he will take over. The Chiefs didn’t trade up in the 2017 draft just to let him sit on the bench for three years. Mahomes has been making some impressive plays during the preseason, and the audience in Arrowhead are waiting to see what he can do with some weapons such as Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. That’s not even mentioning their all-pro players on defense such as Eric Berry and Justin Houston.

Giancarlo Stanton: The Savior of Baseball

It’s official — we’ve hit the void. The brief period where sports fans are simultaneously awaiting the NCAA and NFL season to start, along with the MLB post season. We’ve known for months now that the Dodgers and Astros were a shoe-in for the playoffs, plus with Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger cooling off from their home-run derby hot streak, it seems like the only thing to do is wait for October to get here. At least, that would have been the case for most fans, until Giancarlo Stanton decided to heat up. Somebody better check if Stanton has the city of Miami orbiting around him, because right now he may be the biggest star in baseball. Stanton has always been up there among the top favorites for young atheletes, going in the same category with Bryce Harper, Josè Altuve, Mookie Betts, and the aforementioned Judge & Bellinger, but his stats have been making heads turn for the past month. With a batting average of .310, 34 RBIs, 31 hits, and 17 HRs and those were just his stats for the month of July! He’s scored more home-runs in one month than some players have all year, and the hits just keep coming. In the past two weeks alone he’s been hitting a whopping .371 and scored himself another 16 home runs, which puts him at a total of 44 home-runs on the year! This may be the hottest streak we’ve seen from a single player all year, and he’s STILL. NOT. DONE. Stanton has already broken the Marlins franchise record for most homers in a season by a single player, and he’s currently on place to tie the most consecutive home-runs in a row, which is held by none other than Ken Griffey, Jr. and almost to be made by fate, also held by the Marlins manager Don Mattingly. Now there may be some nay-sayers out there. Some fans who want to point out that the Marlins aren’t making post season anyway, so why does this matter? It matters because Stanton has decided to waive his contract and be eligible for trade. Many teams are very interested in Stanton to begin with, but with the numbers he’s been putting up towards the finish line of the season, his value has just skyrocketed. It’s not a secret that the Marlins are planning to rebuild if they ever want to compete in their division with the Nats, but with Stanton playing the way he is… do you give up a player like that? In the meantime, let’s watch this superstar keep the heat on, because the avid and average fans alike want to see some records broken.