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Old 10-14-2010, 06:30 PM   #1
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Default Steelers are NFL's lone dominant team

Curiously James Walker wasn't all that high on the Steeler just about a week ago, but here he is...

Steelers are NFL's lone dominant team
By James Walker
PITTSBURGH -- There's no 4-0 team in the NFL for the first time since 1970, so the consensus is there is no dominant team.

But I disagree. Football pundits aren't looking hard enough, because the league's lone dominant franchise resides in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers (3-1) have been winning quietly and playing at less than 100-percent capacity without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is returning this week from a four-game suspension. Still, they are 32 seconds away from being 4-0, which virtually throws out the aforementioned stat everyone wants to talk about.

Don't let a late Joe Flacco touchdown pass fool you: Pittsburgh is elite. Now at full strength, Pittsburgh is ready to show its dominance Sunday against the Cleveland Browns (1-4).

Here is why the Steelers are the NFL's most dominant team:

Roethlisberger is back: This has been a huge story this week, but it cannot be overstated. Roethlisberger is a top-five quarterback and a two-time Super Bowl champion. It's like acquiring a $100 million free agent in Week 6 to boost an already strong team. The Steelers' passing game is last in the NFL (136 ypg.), but it will improve dramatically with Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh won with defense and special teams, and now the team can beat opponents with all three phases.

"We're truly a 53-man roster, instead of a 52-man roster," Steelers left tackle Max Starks said. "It makes things more comfortable. It allows us the opportunity to do whatever, because we have [Roethlisberger] ... Now we have that full family."

The Steelers have the best opponent winning percentage: The Steelers didn't pad their record against creampuffs. In fact, Pittsburgh's first four opponents have a combined record of 14-5, tops in the NFL entering Week 6. The Steelers played three one-loss teams (Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and the Tennessee Titans (3-2). Every team Pittsburgh faced this season without Roethlisberger has a winning record, and the Steelers are the only team to beat Atlanta and Tampa Bay this year. Pittsburgh's one loss without its franchise quarterback came against Baltimore, which scored the winning TD with 32 seconds left.

Rashard Mendenhall has emerged: As one Pittsburgh star was suspended, another star for the Steelers emerged in Mendenhall. The third-year tailback recorded his first 1,000-yard season in 2009, but is on pace to shatter career highs in yards, attempts and touchdowns. Mendenhall is playing at a Pro Bowl level. He averages 103 rushing yards per game and carried the offense early. With Roethlisberger back, Pittsburgh will have one of the NFL's most complete offenses.

"I think we will be very balanced, and we're going to take what they give us," Roethlisberger explained. "If they're loading up the box, we will try to throw it. If they're sitting back, we will run the ball."

Pittsburgh has the NFL's best defense: Statistically, the Steelers are ranked No. 4, but they're really the league's most dynamic defense. Pittsburgh has the NFL's best collection of defensive players (Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith, etc.) and the best defensive coordinator (Dick LeBeau). Pittsburgh's run defense has been impenetrable, ranking No. 1 (62.2 ypg). Pittsburgh also is forcing turnovers (three per game) and making big plays. Pittsburgh had to play near-perfect defense in the first four games. But with Roethlisberger back, pressure is taken off LeBeau's unit.

The Steelers are not close to reaching their ceiling: What would the Indianapolis Colts' record be without Peyton Manning this season? How about the New Orleans Saints' record without Drew Brees or the Green Bay Packers' record without Aaron Rodgers? None of those teams would be 3-1 without their franchise quarterback. The scary part is Pittsburgh is just scratching the surface of its potential. The Steelers won ugly during their first four games, because it was the only way to win consistently without Roethlisberger. According to head coach Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh is still working to improve different elements of the team.

"We're still very much in the early stages of this season," said Tomlin. "We're very much a developing football team individually and collectively."

The Steelers have championship experience: The Saints are the reigning Super Bowl champions, but the Steelers are not far removed from their title following the 2008 season. With a majority of players returning from that group, Pittsburgh is the only team playing with that championship swagger. The Steelers have the character and toughness to withstand the ups and downs of a 16-game season. This year's fast start without Roethlisberger was another example when no one expected it.

"We've always had that confidence," Starks said. "Some may call it ****iness on our part, but I think it's confidence that we're a great team and there’s 53 guys in this locker room and we all play for one another."

Don't be surprised when pundits flip the script two or three weeks from now. The AFC North blog just wants to keep everyone ahead of the curve.

The Ravens (4-1), New York Jets (4-1) and Atlanta Falcons (4-1) are Super Bowl contenders. But after five weeks, the Steelers stand alone as the NFL's most dominant team.
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers are NFL's lone dominant team

Interesting, but I'm not sure I neccessarily agree. This team still has weaknesses, the secondary can be a liability and the offensive line while improved is still suspect. And if Troy goes down ( god forbid) do we revert to 2009 all over? I think offensively we still don't know how big a factor losing Holmes will be.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very high on this team and think we have an excellent chance to make a big run this year but i don't see us as head and shoulders above the rest.

In fact if you were to ask me who the most complete team is right now I'd probably be tempted to answer the Jets. While Sanchez is still far from elite, he's come a long way and does what he's needed to do. And other than Sanchez they're solid just about everywhere else. .I'd kill for their corners.
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers are NFL's lone dominant team

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In fact if you were to ask me who the most complete team is right now I'd probably be tempted to answer the Jets. While Sanchez is still far from elite, he's come a long way and does what he's needed to do. And other than Sanchez they're solid just about everywhere else. .I'd kill for their corners.
I have to strongly disagree with you on that one, dude. The Jets are VERY one dimensional in my opinion-- take away LT and their run game (not an impossible task with our defense), and it is plainly obvious that Sanchez can not only NOT lead his team to a victory, but he would be the main reason why they lose...he cannot convert 3rd downs with his arm (for that matter, he cannot hit the broadside of a billboard sign with that arm), and only looks good when he has a reliable running game carrying him. He struggles against descent defenses (which he has not seen many), and flat out sux against elite defenses.

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Don't get me wrong, I'm very high on this team and think we have an excellent chance to make a big run this year but i don't see us as head and shoulders above the rest.
What other team features-- our defense, our running game, and an elite QB under center? The Ravens have the defense, maybe the running game (Ray Rice and McGahee have been pretty quiet so far this year), but not the QB. The Jets have the defense, maybe the running game, easily the best Oline and Dline, but possibly the worst QB in the NFL. The Steelers are the most complete team right now.
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers are NFL's lone dominant team

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Old 10-14-2010, 07:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers are NFL's lone dominant team

if they were the "lone dominant team" , shouldn't they be 4-0 right now , and credited with 4 major ass whippins ? maybe if ben brings an A game for the next few weeks , i might agree , but the 4 game body of work thus far hasn't been anywhere near "dominant". lets not put the horse in front of the cart like people did last year when they were 6-2.
sorry for pissing in the cheerios , but i likes to keeps it real.
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers are NFL's lone dominant team

I would think Ravens are more of the dominant team since they beat the Steelers.
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:23 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers are NFL's lone dominant team

steelers aren't the 'lone' dominant team, but they are dominant. the jets and ravens are players, possibly indy.

i think NE will make the playoffs but have to many holes on defense to win another sb. chiefs are a sleeper team, if not for dwayne bowe pulling a limas peed and dropping a pass in the end zone they could have very well won in indy and been 4-0
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers are NFL's lone dominant team

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I would think Ravens are more of the dominant team since they beat the Steelers.
Are you effin kidding?Were you watching the game?Would have NOT been close if Ben were playing.Its a good thing realists can see this!
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers are NFL's lone dominant team

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Are you effin kidding?Were you watching the game?Would have NOT been close if Ben were playing.Its a good thing realists can see this!
Shoulda, woulda, if he played.......We Lost
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:21 PM   #10
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Are you effin kidding?Were you watching the game?Would have NOT been close if Ben were playing.Its a good thing realists can see this!
Actually no, I had to miss the game saddly :P
Doesn't matter who plays or not, its a team sport, losing is losing. Though people must have believed Steelers were the best team, because Ravens went from like #10 overall to #1 in many rankings :P
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