It will be interesting to see what Steelers fans and fans of other teams alike see in store for the black n’ gold in 2010. It could be another subpar year by Steelers standards with all of the off the field issues we have been facing, but I see the opportunity for some good things to happen, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, provided they can stay healthy.
Without further ado, my predictions for the 2010 schedule:
9/12 vs. Atlanta – Win. The Steelers can overcome a missing Big Ben and do business with the running game enough to take the Falcons’ defense to task.
9/19 at Tennessee – Loss. If the team can contain CJ they may have a good opportunity for a win here, but I just don’t see it happening. They could struggle to move the ball as well.
9/26 at Tampa Bay – Win. Good things have been said about Josh Freeman, but he doesn’t have enough talent around him to get much done on our defense. This is almost a sure thing.
10/3 vs. Baltimore – Loss. The Ravens should be able to make enough plays when necessary to put pressure on Leftwich to keep pace. The offense will have a hard time making plays on their veteran defensive unit, and will likely turn it over a time or two as well.
10/17 vs. Cleveland – Win. Roethlisberger’s glorious return (we expect it to be a 4-game suspension) after the bye week. The Browns will prove a good opponent for him to get his timing back with the receivers.
10/24 at Miami – Win. Iffy I know, as these teams look to be fairly even. But the Steelers took care of business last year in South Beach without Troy Polamalu, and I think his presence is more valuable than a lone receiver (Marshall). Steelers in a close one.
10/31 at New Orleans – Loss. The past two world champions square off on SNF in what could be a wild affair. Our secondary would do well to hold the Saints around 24-28 points and give an opportunity, but I don’t see it happening.
11/8 at Cincinnati – Win. A good week for a bounceback contest within the division. I see Palmer throwing a pick or two and hopefully the TO and Ocho sideshow has already hit the forefront by week 9. The Bengals won’t have as good a defensive unit as a year ago.
11/14 vs. New England – Win. Back home for the first time in a month and back on national prime time TV, the Steelers ride the momentum from last week to another close victory. Call this one a hunch, but I think we are finally ready to beat these guys.
11/21 vs. Oakland – Win. Memories of last year’s stunning defeat to the Raiders fresh in their heads, the Steelers avenge that loss here. Oakland will be a better team however, so there won’t be any room for sloppiness.
11/28 at Buffalo – Win. The Bills won’t be able to match up; this and the Bucs game are about the only two I would bet the house on.
12/5 at Baltimore – Loss. Riding a 4-game winning streak, the team once again meets their old foe. I see the Ravens winning here at home and sweeping the series, much as it pains me to say so.
12/12 vs. Cincinnati – Loss. A split in the series this year, really could have gone either way but I see with the schedule placement this game more likely as the loss following a tough Ravens matchup.
12/19 vs. NY Jets – Loss. A lot of people are giving the Jets more credit than they deserve, but I feel that at this point they will have gelled and seen the playoff picture clearly in a tight race with the Pats. They win but it won’t be easy.
12/23 vs. Carolina – Win. Quick turnaround after a three-game losing streak, the team rebounds on Thursday night. The defense should be able to give either Moore or Clausen enough fits to get the job done.
1/2 at Cleveland – Win. Well rested and most likely in a close playoff chase, the Steelers stay focused and sweep the series with the Browns for the 6th time in 7 seasons.
That has the final record at 10-6. I think this team will have some growing pains but will ultimately still be in the playoff conversation through week 17. The Ravens are a rightful favorite in the division as it stands now, but I think a wild card is a distinct possibility.
Let me know what you all think, and it will be fun to see how close our predictions really are come the turning of the new year.