The Pittsburgh Steelers are 6-4 heading into Week 12. Not exactly a record worth touting, but in the very mediocre AFC, the Steelers find themselves right in the thick of things with 6 weeks left in the season. In fact, the Steelers aren't just a team coming off back-to-back wins and a Week 11 bye week, they are a team that is brimming with confidence.
The confidence likely comes from the fact the team is about to see as close to a full compliment of starters on the field together for the first time since Week 1 against the New England Patriots. DeAngelo Williams, Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Heath Miller and hopefully Martavis Bryant, who missed practice Monday, are all expected to be healthy and on the field when the team travels to play the Seattle Seahawks in Week 12.
Of all the players listed, Roethlisberger is the most important. Not only has he missed the most time, 4 weeks due to a sprained MCL in his left knee, but he is the glue which keeps the offense running on all cylinders. With Roethlisberger in the lineup the Steelers' offense is one of the more dynamic units in the NFL. Without No. 7, they are mediocre at best.
The defensive side of the ball will certainly benefit from the team getting healthy. Longer, time consuming drives from the Pittsburgh offense will give the defense time to catch their breath and be ready to take the field, along with hopefully giving the defense a lead to defend. Count OLB Arthur Moats as a player who is confident in his team moving forward.
"We believe it," Moats told Jason Mackey of DKonPittsburghSports.com. "I feel like, OK, outside of New England, I haven't seen a team I truly felt was better than us, that I truly felt beat us. I feel like every other team we've lost to has been something we've done, self-inflicted wounds things like that.
"When we played New England that opening game, they exposed us in the sense of our communication and things like that, our overall readiness with the snaps like that. Outside of them, I haven't seen a team that I truly felt was better than us. I'm extremely confident. Our team's extremely confident. We're excited about it."
The team is confident, and is playing good football heading into the part of the season when it matters the most, and a very good test awaits them in the Pacific Northwest. The Seahawks, 5-5 and coming off a drubbing of the San Francisco 49ers, will test the Steelers both offensively and defensively for four quarters. Throw in the raucous crowd in Seattle and you have yourself a statement game for Pittsburgh.
If the Steelers are able to escape Seattle with their 7th victory of the season, you can only imagine their confidence will be through-the-roof heading back to Heinz Field for a date with Matt Hasselback and the Indianapolis Colts. Confidence can be a dangerous thing, but if harnessed correctly can propel a team to greatness. The Steelers are staring at a springboard in the Seahawks awaiting them this week.