Pittsburgh can survive without Ben Roethlisberger but the Steelers won’t thrive in 2010 according to Al Dannity.
Off-season changes Where do I start? Santonio Holmes was run out of town when he got arrested in the off-season, his second arrest since joining the Steelers. Pittsburgh was in such a hurry to offload the wide receiver that they only received a fifth-round draft pick from the Jets for the former Super Bowl MVP. Then there’s the small matter of Ben Roethlisberger, who received a six game suspension for his off-the-field behavior.
At least Steelers fans could take some solace with its incoming talent via the draft. Maurkice Pouncey is an important upgrade to an ailing offensive line. Jason Worlds is a great prospect on defense too. The steal of the entire draft, however, was running back Jonathan Dwyer, a phenomenal talent who stayed on the board all the way to the sixth round.
Mark your calendar This section is a little different from the norm. The most important dates to watch are weeks 1 to 4, the games Roethlisberger will definitely miss. The quarterback’s suspension could be reduced by Commissioner Roger Goodell but if it isn’t then NFL betting fans should watch out for weeks 5 and 6 as well. That will be six games with Byron Leftwich under center, including a tough trip to Tennessee and a visit from the Ravens.
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Life actually gets harder for the Steelers after Roethlisberger returns. Pittsburgh travels to Miami in week 7 followed by road trips to New Orleans and Cincinnati in the following two weeks. The week 13 road game at Baltimore and week 15 home game against the Jets both promise to be challenging for Mike Tomlin’s men.
The forecast The 2010 edition of the Steelers is most definitely a mixed bag. The return of a healthy Troy Polamalu on defense certainly bodes well but Willie Colon, by far the Steelers’ best returning lineman, is out for the year. This coupled with the adjustment to life without Roethlisberger and, more importantly, Santonio Holmes makes me less than enthusiastic about Pittsburgh’s chances in 2010.
The pieces are there for this team to challenge in 2011 yet the disarray caused by Big Ben’s suspension and the upheaval at receiver means the coming season could be a write-off. I’m taking the under of 8.5 wins at +110 with Sports Interaction. Look for the Steelers to go 7-9 or 8-8 in 2010.