The time is now.
That’s what the Steelers need to remind themselves of as they embark on their post-season journey this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
Let’s face it, Big Ben isn’t getting any younger and while he seems to be getting better with each passing year, the best quarterback to ever wear a Steeler uniform is 34 and finishing up his 13th season in the NFL; in other words, his time is limited.
LeVeon Bell is set to be a free agent, though one must assume he’ll be retained via a franchise tag if not a long term deal and Antonio Brown will hit the market in a few years too. The offensive line has never been better, allowing the second fewest sacks in the NFL this season and LaDarius Green appears to be coming back (a much needed weapon). This offense is healthy and ready to soar. The team can ill afford to put off a Super Bowl run for another season.
The time is now.
The defense, albeit not the strongest in team history, by any stretch, continues to grow. The resurgence of James Harrison, after his insertion in the starting lineup a few months back, has rejuvenated the entire defense, a defense that wasn’t getting pressure or creating turnovers now is doing just that. This defense has two playmaking linebackers in Ryan Shazier and Bud Dupree to go along side Harrison and an aging yet effective Lawrence Timmons. Stephon Tuitt is coming into his own and even the three starting rookies are making impact plays. With the emergence of this unit in recent weeks, the team has put together a seven game winning streak, they cannot let that kind of momentum go to waste.
The time is now.
The team is set up rather nicely to make a Super Bowl run this post season. They host a home game vs. the Dolphins, a team that crushed them back in October. It will be hard for the Dolphins to beat the Steelers twice in one year; furthermore, Miami may not have Ryan Tannehill at QB. If he does play, he’ll be rusty, having missed the last three weeks of the season.
Should the black and gold win, they go to Kansas City. Admittedly, the Steelers already beat the Chiefs this year, badly, but I feel they can do it again. Alex Smith, while efficient, isn’t a quarterback who scares the opposition, like a Tom Brady or an Aaron Rodgers might.
Next; they would most assuredly have to travel to New England. This is a daunting task for sure but having already lost to the Pats this year, in a game in which Roethlisberger didn’t play, makes things a bit more even this go around. I trust the Steeler offense to get it done and with LeVeon Bell carrying the rock, Brady can be kept off the field for chunks of time.
Should the Steelers advance to the Super Bowl, they will have to most likely face the Cowboys, Packers or Seahawks. The Cowboys won’t beat the Steelers twice with a rookie QB, the Seahawks aren’t as scary as they once were but the Packers may be the team to pose the biggest threat. A rematch of the 2010 Super Bowl isn’t out of the question, hopefully however, the result would end up different.
The Time Is Now!
Mike Pelaia hosts the website Steel Nation Association http://www.steelnationassociation.com– Covering the Steelers and helping Children’s Hospital All Day Everyday. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.