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THE STEELERS DEFENSE smelled Colts blood in the fourth quarter, holding Indy scoreless while the Steelers scored 11 fourth quarter points to prevail, 20-17, Nov. 12. (Photo by Courier photographer Brian Cook)

After nine weeks, the Steelers have the best start in the Mike Tomlin era at 7-2. It’s an impressive record, but how good are the Steelers really?

They don’t have the feel of a 7-2 team to me, nor do they seem like the best team Tomlin has ever coached. I leave that to the 2008 team, with 2010 being a close second.

This 2017 version is flawed, yet they boast an inexplicably good record. Their opponents, to date, have a combined record of 37-45, obviously unimpressive. Yet the Steelers have big wins against the possible playoff-bound Vikings and Chiefs.

The Steelers’ two losses are to the surprisingly decent Jaguars and the lowly Bears. They also squeaked out wins against the winless Browns and lowly Colts.

MIKE PELAIA
COURIER STEELERS CENTRAL

Are the Steelers good or not? The remaining schedule is weak; they play their division opponents one more time each, none of whom are currently at .500. They also get the Packers without Aaron Rodgers on Nov. 26.

The only remaining challenges they have left are this Thursday, Nov. 16 against Tennessee and Dec. 17 against the Patriots (whom I think will embarrass the Steelers).

When the Steelers face a guy like Tom Brady, I fully expect the Steelers’ defense to get shredded like cheddar cheese. I don’t trust the pass defense, and with Joe Haden now out for a period of time, I trust them less. Mike Mitchell makes a ton of tackles but that’s usually because he, or someone else, got burned and he has to. Who have the Steelers really faced in terms of top level quarterbacks thus far? Alex Smith is very good but he’s not daunting. Other than that, they’ve faced nobody.

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