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Three of the biggest challenges awaiting the Steelers in 2017

May 18th, 2017 at 7:42 AM
Aggregated By Sports Media 101

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to be among the NFL’s best teams in 2017. This is good news. The Steelers typically have Super Bowl aspirations, but this 2017 team could be, without exaggeration, the most talented group with which Ben Roethlisberger has ever played.

The road to a seventh Super Bowl title will in all likelihood run through New England, which is seeking its second title in as many seasons. This is not good news. Roethlisberger is 3-5 against the Patriots in his career, with one of his victories bearing an asterisk since it came against a Tom Brady-less Patriots team.

The Steelers will play the Patriots at least once in 2017 (at home, in Week 15) and could very well see New England again in the postseason, most likely at Gillette Stadium, where Roethlisberger has never defeated Brady. This is very, very bad news.

So, yeah. It kind of goes without saying that the Patriots represent Pittsburgh’s most daunting challenge in 2017. So, let’s discuss the specifics of the Patriots challenge, along with some other issues that could inhibit Pittsburgh’s success:

Expectations!

The Steelers play a ridiculously easy schedule (the fifth easiest, in fact, based on their opponents’ winning percentages in 2016). However, there isn’t much grey area: many of Pittsburgh’s opponents are either probable destinations for top-10 draft picks or Super Bowl contenders. Given Mike Tomlin’s objectively-poor record against sub-500 teams, the Steelers’ biggest opponents could very well be themselves.

Facing other top-tier passing attacks

Tom Brady’s utter dominance over the Steelers isn’t some cosmic happenstance (then, again, maybe it is)â??Brady is simply an expert at identifying and exploiting flaws in opponents’ defensive schemes, independent of the level of talent within said opponents’ secondaries. Please consult the following list for further details:

  • 2007: Patriots def. Steelers 34-13â??Steelers ranked 3rd in pass defense; Brady throws for 399 yards, four …

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Tags: AFC Championship, Artie Burns, Ben Roethlisberger, Coty Sensabaugh, Derek Carr, Golson, Jordan Dangerfield, Mike Mitchell, Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Raiders, Randy Moss, Richard Sherman, Rob Gronkowski, Robert Golden, Ryan Shazier, Senquez Golson, Super Bowl, Tom Brady, Troy Brown, Wes Welker, William Gay

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