So the draft has passed us, mini camp has ended, and training camp is beginning or just about to begin for every team in the NFL...
One of those teams is my Pittsburgh Steelers, yes i am a fan and quite a big one at that. My perfect Sunday is spent sat alone, watching the Steelers play football and every now and again shouting at the TV in frustration.
Call me old fashioned but that is how the NFL was meant to be watched, with passion and some sort of cheese flavoured crisps.
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Anyway, the purpose of this article is to dive into the land of the hypothetical; a place where most of us live during the NFL off-season, to predict how my Steelers will do in the 2015 regular season.
So what are we waiting for lets jump right in!
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WEEK 1: WIN vs New England Patriots
Oh no, here come the almighty New England Patriots coming off a Superbowl title. Oh wait what, the Steelers win! Yes, that's right im giving the Steelers a week one win vs the reigning Superbowl champs.
Whether or not Tom Brady plays is irrelevant to me, what is relevant is the state that Patriots secondary is in. The absence of Revis and Browner is enough for me to see Big Ben putting up 300 plus yards in the air vs the Pats and deflating the fans in Foxboro.
WEEK 2: WIN vs San Francisco 49er
The San Francisco 49ers have lost so many players this off-season, and not just random guys that are hidden in the roster somewhere. The Players they lost, especially on defence, were solid, veteran pro bowlers.
The loss of Patrick Willis alone will hurt. I'm also not convinced that Colin Kaepernick is the answer in the Bay area, he may hurt Pittsburgh with his running ability but that alone won't be able to keep up with the high powered Steelers offence.
WEEK 3: LOSS vs St Louis Rams
I have the Rams as a surprise team this year. Once you have spent a fair amount of time staring in awe at the strength and depth of their defensive line, you realise they grabbed Nick Foles at QB, drafted a great young RB in Todd Gurley and the wideouts they have ain't half bad.
I think the Steelers have a tough time protecting Ben, running the ball or working any passing game other than screens.
WEEK 4: LOSS vs Baltimore Ravens
I hope the Steelers lay the smackdown vs the Ravens, but for some reason, recently, the Steelers play better in Baltimore and the Ravens play better in Pittsburgh. Although this match will be dubbed -by me anyway- as a revenge match, I see the Ravens getting the win, a close win though.
WEEK 5: WIN vs San Diego Chargers
This game has the potential to be quite high scoring in my opinion, both teams have talented offensive skill players, especially at running back, Bell vs Gordon will be something to watch, but I think the Steelers grab a clutch win in San Diego.
WEEK 6: LOSS vs Arizona Cardinals
This game is going to be one of my personal favourites to watch this upcoming season. While the underlying story will be Bruce Arians faces off vs the team he used to coach, the Carson Palmer vs Big Ben duel will be fun to watch.
Sadly for my Steelers I see the Cards taking the win, they have a much better defence and Patrick Peterson has the versatility and speed to give Antonio Brown some trouble.
WEEK 7: WIN vs Kansas City Chiefs
Protecting Ben against the unforgiving Justin Houston will be a premium objective for the Steelers, do I see Kansas City putting many points up though? No. Thus the Steelers get a solid win vs KC.
WEEK 8 & 14: WINS vs Cincinnati Bengals
The past two years of AFC North football have shown me one thing, the Steelers own the Bengals. I'm saying the Steelers win in week eight and later down the road in week fourteen because I have zero faith in Andy Dalton to guide Cincy anywhere other than disappointment. Sorry Bengals fans.
WEEK 9: LOSS vs Oakland Raiders
The Steelers always lose to the Raiders nowadays. I honestly don't know why...
WEEK 10 & 17: WINS vs Cleveland Browns
I don't see why I need to explain why the Steelers win both of these games, the Browns got rid of a guy who guided them to some semblance of winning last year in Brian Hoyer. I don't see Manziel or McCown as threats, even to a lacklustre, rebuilding Pittsburgh defence.
WEEK 12: LOSS vs Seattle Seahawks
I really want the Steelers to beat the Seahawks, but I don't think they will, not because of the Seahawks defence, but because the Steelers defence will not be able to contain Jimmy Graham, Beastmode and Russell Wilson.
One caveat though, I think Antonio Brown has a big day vs Sherman, that's right I'm talking 100 yard territory, couple of TDs that kind of a day.
WEEK 13: WIN vs Indianapolis Colts
I think the Steelers vs Colts 2015 will be eerily similar to the Steelers vs Colts 2014. A shoot-out between two big time quarterbacks, but ultimately Big Ben takes Andrew Luck to school, for the second time.
WEEK 15: LOSS vs Denver Broncos
This loss will be a close one, not because of Peyton Manning by any stretch, but because the Broncos defence will be very good next year. Shane Ray, Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware will create a hellacious pass rush, and to top it off their secondary is still in great condition with Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. Best defence in the AFC? Its possible.
WEEK 16: WIN vs Baltimore Ravens
The Steelers finally get revenge on Baltimore by beating them in week 16 and closing down there hopes of a play-off run. I have this game potentially being game of the year material because Steelers vs Ravens games are that gosh darn good!
So my predictions have the Steelers ending with a 10-6 record, which will win them the AFC North just like in 2014.
Some may call my predictions ambitious or bold, but I have faith... or maybe I'm just caught up in the off-season hypothetical; either way 2015 will be a fun season to watch for me and Steelers fans worldwide.
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