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Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Predictions – Steelers Look To Bounce Back

Posted by Tony Bryant on 7/13/2012 3:45:05 PM

The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of only two NFL franchises that have advanced to the Super Bowl three times over the past eight seasons, and if recent history holds up, Ben Roethlisberger will lead his boys to another AFC Championship in 2012. The Steelers reached the Super Bowl in 2006, 2009, and 2011, and after falling to the Denver Broncos in a shocking overtime loss in the opening round of last year’s playoffs, they should be hungry to reclaim their status as one of the league’s elite teams. Pittsburgh’s vaunted defense ranked first in the NFL in 2011, and the offense finished just outside the top-10. The Steelers own one of the most complete rosters in the NFL, and with top talent at nearly every position they are on a short list of legitimate sports betting online contenders in the AFC for 2012.

Head Coach: Mike Tomlin
Offensive Coordinator: Todd Haley
Defensive Coordinator: Dick Lebeau
Owner: The Rooney Family
Stadium: Heinz Field
Capacity: 65,050
Super Bowl Wins: 6

Offense

New offensive coordinator Todd Haley seems to be jelling fine with his players, and with a promise to put more of an emphasis on the running game and play-action pass, he could be the missing piece that takes the Pittsburgh offense to the next level. That’s not a knock on former coordinator Bruce Arians, who left to take the same position with the Indianapolis Colts, but the bottom line is that the Steelers’ offensive line could not protect Roethlisberger enough in the old pass-happy offense that relied on spreading the field and aggressively attacking. Haley will instead try to establish running back Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman early and often, and use explosive wide receivers Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown to attack deep with the play-action pass. Tight ends Heath Miller and Leonard Pope give Roethlisberger safety options over the middle, and with the added protection he should be able to perform at a high sportsbook level much more consistently.

Grade: B -

Defense

The Steelers managed to finish first in total defense a year ago mostly because they were so good against the pass, but if they are going to continue to play at an elite level they will need linebacker Cameron Heyward and rookie Sean Spence to make strong contributions in the pass rush. Lamar Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, and James Harrison make up the most dominant linebacker core in the NFL, but with James Farrior gone either Heyward or Spence will be expected to step up in a starter’s role. Ziggy Hood and Brett Kiesel are good space-eaters next to Casey Hampton in the middle, and all three need to stay healthy to free up the ‘backers. Safety Troy Polamalu is an All-Pro force and an emotional leader that always seems to come up with big plays, but Pittsburgh is going to need better play at the corner spots after Tim Tebow torched them for over 300 passing yards in the AFC Wild Card loss.

Grade: A -

Special Teams

Shaun Suisham connected on just 74.2-percent of his kicks in 2011, and while the tough conditions at Heinz Field are tough for any kicker to handle, he will need to put up better numbers in 2012 to avoid losing his job in the long run. Punter Jeremy Kapinos takes over as the undoubted starter from day one after landing 10 punts inside the 20 a year ago, but the Steelers are in desperate need of a boost from their return game. Pittsburgh got just one touchdown from its return game in 2011 courtesy Antonio Brown, and would certainly benefit from more big plays.

Grade: B -

Prediction

While the Broncos, Jets, and Raiders are all expected to be better in 2012, Pittsburgh should be able to get to the bye week undefeated if they can concentrate on winning one game at a time. The Steelers lost both regular season meetings with the Ravens a year ago, so earning at least a split against their biggest division rivals will be a major priority. The offense should benefit from a stronger rushing game over the course of the season, and there are no signs that the top-ranked defense from a year ago will slow down, so look for Pittsburgh to contend for a division title once again in 2012, with a Super Bowl push a definite betting possibility.

Projected Record: 11-5 (First in AFC North)

2012 Regular Season Schedule

Week 1 – at Denver (8:20 PM ET)
Week 2 – vs. New York Jeta (4:25 PM ET)
Week 3 – at Oakland (4:25 PM ET)
Week 4 – BYE WEEK
Week 5 – vs. Philadelphia (1:00 PM ET)
Week 6 – at Tennessee (Thursday, 8:20 PM ET)
Week 7 – at Cincinnati (8:20 PM ET)
Week 8 – vs. Washington (1:00 PM ET)
Week 9 – at New York Giants (4:25 PM ET)
Week 10 – vs. Kansas City (Monday, 8:30 PM ET)
Week 11 – vs. Baltimore (8:20 PM ET)
Week 12 – at Cleveland (1:00 PM ET)
Week 13 – at Baltimore (4:25 PM ET)
Week 14 – vs. San Diego (1:00 PM ET)
Week 15 – at Dallas (4:25 PM ET)
Week 16 – vs. Cincinnati (1:00 PM ET)
Week 17 – vs. Cleveland (1:00 PM ET)


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