The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Will the Steelers reach the bye week with a strong 6-2 record?
The Steelers tomorrow will be looking to get off to their best start through the first half of the season in the Mike Tomlin era, and the best since their 2004 season, during which they went 15-1 overall (kind of hard to compete with that).
By the midway point a year ago, they were, in fact, just 4-4, and ended up going 4-5, dipping below .500 before reeling off seven consecutive victories. But they are this year in a position to get to .750 by the midseason mark, and if they do so, it will not be the first time.
Tomlin actually took his first five teams (all with Bill Cowher’s players, naturally) to 6-2 records, in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. But while they have occasionally come close since then, they haven’t been able to reach the mark.
They went 6-3 through nine games in 2012 and in 2014, those two years seeing drastically different outcomes. They ended up 8-8 in 2012, and 11-5 in 2014, winning five if their last six games and claiming the AFC North for the first time since 2010.
At the moment, this Steelers team has navigated some rocky waters, both on and off the field, to a 5-2 start, winning three of their first four games, and now looking to put together their first winning streak of more than two games of the year.
In order to do so, they will have to beat the Lions up in Detroit. They are currently 3-3 on the season, losing back-to-back games to the Panthers and the Saints. They have so far only beaten the Cardinals and Giants, two of the worst teams in the league, and the Vikings, playing with a backup quarterback in the game in which they lost Dalvin Cook.
Still, it’s never easy to win on the road, and Matthew Stafford’s arm cannot be questioned. This should be the biggest test for the secondary this year.