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Can the Pittsburgh Steelers maintain momentum?

Are the Pittsburgh Steelers on the upswing?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It's safe to say that the Steelers have exceeded expectations so far this season. First, the defense is an asset to the team, bending, not breaking, and coming up with big plays to save key games. Second, the team has done much better than expected in the absence of the injured Ben Roethlisberger.

What does the future have in store for the Steelers? Since the team has pulled out important victories even without their future Hall of Fame quarterback at the helm, their stock should continue to rise once Roethlisberger returns to the field. Even with Michael Vick at quarterback, the Steelers have done enough to win. Now, with Landry Jones starting against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7 and Roethlisberger's return imminent, the team has nowhere to go but up.

One player in particular stands to see more playing time and contributions to the team once Roethlisberger is back in the huddle. Wide receiver Antonio Brown has had limited productivity since Roethlisberger fell to a knee injury in Week 3 against the St. Louis Rams.

NumberFire compiled Brown's stats during the course of the season.

Antonio Brown Targets Receptions Yards TDs
Week 1 11 9 133 1
Week 2 11 9 195 1
Week 3 13 11 108 0
Week 4 9 5 42 0
Week 5 6 3 45 0
Week 6 8 3 24 0

It will be interesting to see how often Brown is targeted with Landry Jones in charge against the Kansas City Chiefs, and if Todd Haley has adjusted the game plan to include a wider variety of offensive weapons. When Ben Roethlisberger returns, there is little doubt that Brown will be a more frequent contributor.

Bottom line, with the defense stepping up and Roethlisberger's return on the horizon, the Steelers should have excellent momentum going into the November 1 game against the Cincinnati Bengals and the November 8 game against the Oakland Raiders.