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mesaSteeler
03-10-2011, 11:10 AM
Pittsburgh Steelers: 2011-2012 Season Predictions and Super Bowl Odds
Bob HarveyThursday, March 10, 2011 10:07 AM ET
By: Bob Harvey | www.sbrforum.com
http://www.sbrforum.com/nfl-football/free-picks/pittsburgh-steelers-2011-2012-season-predictions-super-bowl-odds-a-18797/

The Pittsburgh Steelers will begin the 2011-12 NFL season as one the heavy favorites to win the AFC championship. How are the Steelers shaping up for next season?

While the Steelers were able to beat the likes of the Patriots and Jets last season, Father Time could prove to be a bigger opponent. (We beat the Cheats last year? Funny that's not how I remember it. - mesa)

Early on the sportsbooks aren’t concerned with the Steelers getting older. Pittsburgh (+450) is second on the futures board behind the New England Patriots to win the AFC title.

Pittsburgh Steeler fans would like to say their team is like fine wine getting better with age. Pittsburgh’s key offensive players are still in their 20’s with a lot of football ahead. 28-year old Ben Roethlisberger came back strong from a four-game suspension last season and threw for 3,200 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Running back Rashard Mendenhall who rushed for 1,273 yards and 13 touchdowns is 23 while Maurkice Pounce, arguably the Steelers best offensive lineman is just 21. That trio alone should keep the Steelers at the top of most futures boards for the foreseeable future.

Flowing locks

Troy Polamalu is more than just a pretty face with a lot of hair. The reigning NFL defensive player of the year is one of the toughest guys in the league and showed it by playing through injuries including a strained Achilles tendon. He’s only 29, but he plays every down like it’s his last one and the numerous violent collisions could be taking their toll.

Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison is on the mend after having a second back surgery in as many weeks. Harrison underwent another operation Wednesday to repair a herniated disc in his back — a condition with which he played most of the 2010 season and still earned All-Pro honors Harrison is expected to start working out again in early April if all goes well during his recovery.

Harrison, who turns 33 in early May, became the second player in Steelers history to record double-digit sacks in three consecutive years. Last season he recorded 100 tackles, 10.5 sacks, two interceptions and six forced fumbles.

Led by Polamalu and Harrison, the Steelers defense was ranked first in the league in points allowed (14.5), No.1 in rushing yards allowed per game (62.8) and second in total yards (276.8). They got better as the regular season went on allowing only 51 points in their final five games. The Steelers have plenty of depth and experience and should match or maybe better last year’s impressive numbers.

Draft Debate

James Farrior just had a great year, but he turned 36 in January. Casey Hampton turns 34 in September. Successors for those two players will likely be found in the draft. The Steelers have always been one of the savviest teams when it comes to personnel and with glaring needs at cornerback and the offensive line, they figure to be busy again this year.

Pittsburgh is hoping upon hope that Florida guard Mike Pouncey is available at the bottom of the first round. The Steelers could even trade up to get the Gators All-American and put up next to his brother, Maurkice.

Super Bowl 46 will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on February 25, 2012. Here’s a look at the current odds.

Arizona +10000

Atlanta +1500

Baltimore +1200

Buffalo +20000

Carolina +30000

Chicago +1800

Cincinnati +6000

Cleveland +6000

Dallas +1800

Denver +6000

Detroit +5000

Green Bay +600

Houston +3500

Indianapolis +1800

Jacksonville +6000

Kansas City +3000

Miami +4000

Minnesota +4000

New England +500

New Orleans +1500

New York Giants +1500

New York Jets +1200

Oakland +5000

Philadelphia +1500

Pittsburgh Steelers +800

San Diego +1200

San Francisco +4000

Seattle +10000

St Louis +6000

Tampa Bay +3000

Tennessee +6000

Washington +6000