The Pittsburgh Steelers always seem to put together a team worthy of preseason hype. ‘Experts’ pick them to either win the AFC North or make the playoffs year after year. I guess when you have the same leaders on the field, it’s hard to pick against them.
The Steelers lost some of their leaders on defense this offseason. Troy Polamalu, Brett Keisel and Ike Taylor are no longer wearing black and yellow this season. It’s not a rebuilding year, they are just retooling on defense.
The Bengals and Ravens both look like contenders in the AFC North. Can the Steelers win another division title under Mike Tomlin?
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 11-5
Key Additions: RB DeAngelo Williams, QB Michael Vick & LB L.J. Fort
Key Losses: DE Brett Keisel, OLB Jason Worilds, CB Ike Taylor, S Troy Polamalu, WR Lance Moore & CB Brice McCain
2015 Draft Picks: OLB Bud Dupree, CB Senquez Golson, WR Sammie Coates, CB Doran Grant, TE Jesse James, DT L.T. Walton, DE Anthony Chickillo & S Gerod Holliman
Non-Division Schedule: AFC West, NFC West & (Indianapolis/New England)
Fantasy Sleeper: WR Sammie Coates – Martavis Bryant will miss the first four games due to suspension. Coates is the next man up and should get the job as the third receiver while he’s out. He could be a nice pickup during that time, but will fall back down in the depth chart once Bryant returns. He’s a guy to keep an eye on. He was impressive in college, so he could step into a bigger role if an injury occurs.
Offense – QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le’Veon Bell, WR Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant, TE Heath Miller, LT Kelvin Beachum, LG Ramon Foster, C Maurkice Pouncey, RG David DeCastro & RT Marcus Gilbert
Defense – DE Stephen Tuitt, DT Steve McLendon, DE Cameron Heyward, LOLB Bud Dupree, ILB Ryan Shazier, ILB Lawrence Timmons, ROLB Jarvis Jones, CB William Gay, CB Cortez Allen, SS Will Allen & FS Mike Mitchell
Team Analysis: The Steelers should be an offensive juggernaut this season. It’s a shame that Martavis Bryant allegedly smoked some weed and got himself suspended for the first four games. Big Ben still has plenty of weapons. I like the addition of DeAngelo Williams. He has trouble staying healthy, but if he is just used on passing downs, he could string together a fully active season. The defense will have a different look without Troy Polamalu, Brett Keisel and Ike Taylor. It is more youthful and there will be some mistakes made along the way. Their schedule is brutal with a few away games on the West Coast and non-division games against Indy and New England. The Steelers are my pick to win the AFC North, but it won’t be easy.
2015 Wins Over/Under Line: 8.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 10-6 (1st in AFC North)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.