Why are the Steelers 5-0? Here’s my list of reasons (in no particular order):
*The schedule has been easy. The Steelers should be 5-0. But no matter how it's compiled, a 5-0 mark is nothing to sneeze at. NFL teams rarely win five in a row regardless of the opposition. The Steelers under Mike Tomlin have certainly been known to stumble against lesser foes. But not this season.
*Ben Roethlisberger is much better than Duck Hodges and Mason Rudolph. Duh. If either of those two jobbers was at quarterback this season, the Steelers might be 2-3 or 1-4.
*The offensive line has been quality despite David DeCastro being in and out. Alejandro Villanueva, Chuks Okorafor and rookie Kevin Dotson are solid. I expected Villanueva to continue last year’s decline and figured Okorafor to struggle as a first-year starter. I’m not surprised by Dotson. He started all four of his college seasons. He didn’t come here to sit.
*RB James Conner has been mostly healthy, and mostly pretty good.
*The emergence of rookie WR Chase Claypool has offset Diontae Johnson’s injuries and JuJu Smith-Schuster’s recent fade.
*Quarterbacks coach Matt Canada has added some interesting twists to the offense.
*The biggest reason is the defense, which is devastating. There's no point in breaking it down individually. The entire unit is bad-ass. (But we’ll see how Robert Spillane does deputizing at inside ‘backer for the injured Devin Bush.)
Don’t give the defense all the credit, however. The defense was great last season, but the Steelers went 8-8 and missed the playoffs.
Roethlisberger is the primary difference-maker. The QB almost always is.
But why do we have to analyze? Why can’t we just be happy the Steelers are 5-0?
Because it’s a long three hours, that’s why.
Courtesy of Getty Images