FanPost

It's about the QBs

We're going to make the not so bold assumption that teams will not be able to run on the Steelers this year. That means it will take good QB play to beat the black and gold. Now, an excellent defense or a TD on special teams can supplement a decent QB for a win as well.

Pittsburgh's losses last year were to:

Ravens/Joe Flacco - Sans Ben, it took a last minute TD pass for the loss. The Ravens D was the key for Baltimmore.

Saints/Drew Brees - Premier QB beat the Steelers

Patriots/Tom Brady - Best QB in the game beat the Steelers

Jets/ Mark Sanchez - Just an off game for the Steelers, as the last play of the game was an incompletion in the end zone to win it. Brad Smith's kickoff return for a TD was the difference

Packers/Aaron Rodgers - An off the charts second half won the Super Bowl. Though an INT return for a TD was the difference.

Let's look at how the Steelers will likely face in 2011:

Ravens - Joe Flacco

Seahawks - Tavaris Jackson

Colts - Kerry Collins

Texans - Matt Shaub

Titans - Matt Hasselbeck

Jaguars - Blaine Gabbert

Cardinals - Kevin Kolb

Patriots - Tom Brady

Ravens - Joe Flacco

Bengals - Andy Dalton

Chiefs - Matt Cassell

Bengals - Andy Dalton

Browns - Colt McCoy

49ers - Colin Kaepernick

Rams - Sam Bradford

Browns - Colt McCoy

16 games. 4 against rookies and 3 more against second year QBs. Inexperienced QBs rarely fare well against Dick LeBeau's guys.

Team wise, I'd predict maybe five games against playoff caliber squads (Ravens twice, Pats, Texans and Cards).

Top level QB wise, I'd say two: Brady and Shaub (and Shaub has never made the playoffs).

Flacco is at the next level (though the Ravens game is always close), Hasselbeck and Collins have been in the Super Bowl but are at the end of the road. Heck, Collins was retired just two weeks ago.

The others are muddled. Matt Casel is playing with injured ribs and Tavaris Jackson is trying to hold off Charlie Whithurst, for example.

If the Steelers show up and play well (not great, not bad, just good Steeler football), most of these QBs should come up short. A couple aren't even going to be the opening day starters (ie Kaepernick and Gabbert)

And in unrelated news...My Steelers history series (with some nice pics) is through the sixties over on my blog: Walking Through the Vale

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