The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently sitting at 7-3 after ten weeks of play and now as they have a week of rest before the stretch run begins. Even though bye week is here as they sit in first place in the AFC North there is much left to accomplish on the list of goals for the 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers. The biggest item at this point is for the walking wounded is to find improved health.
While the Steelers are awaiting the return of Emmanuel Sanders to the offense but perhaps the biggest anticipated return and the most impactful will be that of LaMarr Woodley. Woodley was such a force in the time that James Harrison spent on the injured list due to that broken orbital. Once Woodley comes back it will be the first time that he and Harrison were in the starting lineup at the same time in months.
This combination could once again prove dividends for the Steelers defense who has been through a lot this year. The defense of late has sort of found its legs and with Woodley returning, the Steelers will once again have two of the most impactful linebackers in the NFL igniting the defense.
Hines Ward – Other items happening during this week off are the remaining issues, the most popular is likely the Hines Ward situation. Ward has been injured for much of the season and while the offense is emerging as one of the most potent in the league many believe that the offense is passing him by. Ward is graciously accepting his new role and once Sanders returns Ward may move down to fifth on the depth chart.
Many are quick to write Ward off but others believe that had he been 100% he would have given many contributions over the last few weeks. This topic will be highly debated around town over the remaining weeks of the regular season and in the offseason. With Ward's tenure and longevity in Pittsburgh over the years this situation needs to be handled with great respect.
All of this debating can change if he comes back and shows how valuable he still can be.
Who to root for? – There is a huge AFC battle in week 11 as the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens will meet. The Steelers are pulling for the Bengals to topple topple the Ravens, which will help their place in the standings as the Ravens hold the tie breaker over the Steelers. With the Steelers currently holding down first place, the Steeler Nation should either hope for a Bengals win, but a tie would complicate things even further for the AFC North race. Although ties happen once every few years, its not as impossible as you might think with two very good defenses meeting.
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