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The Pittsburgh Steelers have a Super Bowl caliber defense, sort of

The Steelers young defense certainly has its shortcomings, but the one thing it's truly excelled at in 2015 is taking the football away. With opportunistic defenses historically being linked to Super Bowl teams, that certainly bodes well with the postseason on the horizon.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 edition of the Steelers defense has been a roller coaster of a unit through 14 games.

It has stopped teams cold for a half and acted like a gateway to touchdown Heaven in another. It has caused people to adamantly state that pressure on the quarterback is far more important than having a top-rate cornerback and has also sent folks to Twitter to call for Kevin Colbert to be tried for 18 counts of negligence (Pittsburgh hasn't drafted a corner in the first round since 1997).

Yes, much like youth tends to be, the Steelers fairly young defense has been inconsistent for most of the season. On one hand, it's fifth in the league defending the run. On the other hand, it's 31st defending the pass. On one series of downs, the opposing quarterback has all the time in the world to pass. On the next series, he can't seem to reach his third step in his dropback, as Cameron Heyward and Co. are closing in fast and recording one or several of the team's surprising 39 sacks.

Despite being ranked 24th overall in yards allowed, the current Steelers defense shows promise, and, believe it or not, might already be a Super Bowl unit.

I know that seems hard to believe. After all, it's not ranked number one overall in yards allowed, like the 2011 and 2012 units were. It doesn't have an impressive string of not allowing opposing running backs to rush for over 100 yards like Dick LeBeau's defenses of the recent past.

But the one thing this current Steelers defense is doing that's Super Bowl-like is taking the football away. During those aforementioned 2011 and 2012 campaigns, there were many debates about whether or not a defense could truly be considered dominant without excelling in taking the football away (Pittsburgh's defense recorded a combined 35 turnovers in 2011 and 2012).  However, in terms of cold, hard football math (copyright infringement), there was no conceivable way you could call it 'Super."

You can debate all you want about turnovers being created by luck or skill (I lean towards young skill), but there is no arguing the fact that they've always mattered when it comes to winning Super Bowls. The average number of takeaways for the previous 49 Super Bowl-winners was a shade under 37, and no team has ever won a Lombardi trophy without taking the football away at least 25 times during a full regular season (the '82 Redskins managed 24 takeaways in a strike-shortened nine-game season).

Pittsburgh's troubles with taking the football away continued in 2013 and 2014, as the defense slipped from number one in yardage to the middle of the pack in the NFL.

Over the previous four seasons, the Steelers defense averaged 19 takeaways, with 21 being the highest output.

Thankfully, with two games to spare in the 2015 season, the Steelers defense has already eclipsed the Super Bowl turnover threshold with a refreshing 26 and is on-pace to finish with 29; that number would equal the amount the  historic 2008 defense recorded while leading the charge to a Super Bowl XLIII victory.

Right now, the Steelers are fifth in the NFL in taking the football away, which is where the 2011 Giants finished during their Super Bowl XLVI season (New York finished 27th in overall defense that year).

Again, turnovers have always mattered when it comes to Super Bowl success, and they always will until proven otherwise. Right now, the Steelers are excelling in that department, and that could bode well come January once a postseason spot becomes a reality.