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Steelers Mailbag: Will the team stumble out of the gate without Le'Veon Bell in the lineup?

In the weekly BTSC Mailbag article, I sit down at headquarters and answer the questions of our awesome Twitter followers. Some intriguing questions in this one...

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers reporting to training camp inches closer, and with each day the fan base has more and more questions which they want answered about their favorite team. This is where the BTSC Mailbag article comes in. What can you do to submit a question? Easy. Follow us on Twitter (@btsteelcurtain) and pay attention on Monday evening or Tuesday morning for us to ask for questions. When you see that, submit your question via Twitter to be answered in the weekly mailbag article.

We have some good ones today, so let's get this thing started:

From: @BMoreBeatdown (Baltimore Beatdown - the SB Nation Baltimore Ravens site)

Question: How many games do you think the Steelers will win without RB Le'Veon Bell?

Answer: Assuming Bell's suspension remains at 3-games, you have to look at the opponents. Week 1 at the New England Patriots, Week 2 vs. the San Francisco 49ers and Week 3 at the St. Louis Rams. More questions abound regarding whether Tom Brady will play in the first game, but the Steelers will be prepared to play without Bell, unlike the 2014 AFC Wild Card game. DeAngelo Williams was brought in for this purpose, and should be able to carry the load in Bell's absence. If I were to give a prediction, it would be they go 2-1 during this stretch, again depending on Brady's appeal. The Steelers need Bell to make a long playoff run, but to start the season with all preseason to prepare, they should be just fine.

From: @ElRicky_ (Candy Randy)

Question: How is it no one is talking about Bud Dupree in terms of pressure entering the 2015 season? He is a first round pick after all. Seems to me he is flying under the radar. Why is that?

Answer: I guarantee there is a certain amount of pressure on Dupree just by being selected in the first round, but when it comes to pressure from the media, very few rookies have had that type of pressure in their first year. It is assumed a rookie might be able to help the team in some capacity, but not come in and be a difference maker. If that happens, you have yourself a wonderful problem, but if it doesn't the expectations aren't so much fans should be talking 'bust' after their first year as a pro.

Dupree is an exceptional talent, and I predict the second half of the season is when you will see him start to come into his own as a NFL player. In the meantime, he will play sparingly while learning the system and adjusting to the speed of the NFL. There is pressure on Dupree, but not as much as a player like Jarvis Jones.

From: @SteelersGal86 (Heather)

Question: What do you think the Steelers' record will be this year, and will they make the playoffs? If so, what seed will they be?

Answer: It was only a matter of time until I got asked the prediction question, and although my final prediction won't be released until closer to the end of the preseason I will tell you I have the Steelers between 10 and 11 wins. Some might say 9, and some might say 12, but their schedule is downright daunting. I do see them making the playoffs in 2015 for the second straight year, and although they may win 10 games, they still might be a wild card team. I feel the AFC North comes down to the Steelers and Ravens, and it is a toss-up as to who comes out on top. I like the Steelers' chances with their offense, which would have them winning the division and the higher seeded team.

Those are the questions for this week's mailbag segment. Be sure to have your question answered next week by following BTSC on Twitter (@btsteelcurtain) and submitting those questions to be included in the weekly segment.