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2013 Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, due in large part to the fact they have won six Super Bowls, more than any other team in the league. The thought of not making the playoffs is something that doesn't rest well with the fans in the Steel City. Last year, the Steelers got off to a solid 6-3 start (4-5 against the spread) and were looking like playoff contenders. However, they lost five of their final seven games to finish with a .500 record at 8-8 and cost themselves a spot in the postseason. They were also big underachievers for their backers with a 2-4-1 mark ATS down the stretch.
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger played very solid in 2012 when he was healthy, throwing for 3,265 yards and 26 touchdowns to go along with just eight interceptions in 13 games. The Steelers had a trio of players that were big offensive targets for Roethlisberger last season in tight end Heath Miller (71 catches for 816 yards with eight TDs) and wide receivers Mike Wallace (64, 816, eight) and Antonio Brown (66, 787, five). But Pittsburgh's biggest weakness was its run game that ranked 26th in the league at 96.1 yards per game. Second-year running back Jonathan Dwyer was the team's leading rusher, totaling 623 yards on the ground and scoring two touchdowns. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau continued to run of the best defenses in the league, as the Steelers finished first in total yards allowed and passing yards allowed and sixth in points allowed, giving up just 19.6 points per contest.
One of the major challenges Pittsburgh faces heading into 2013 is how to deal with several key losses suffered many this offseason, including Wallace after he signed with the Miami Dolphins in free agency. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley will miss Wallace's presence greatly in his second year with the Steelers, who also lost three starters from the offensive line in Willie Colon, Max Starks and Doug Legursky. In addition, former top RB Rashard Mendenhall departed for the Arizona Cardinals, and Pittsburgh lost safeties Will Allen and Ryan Mundy, cornerback Kennan Lewis, nose tackle Casey Hampton and linebacker James Harrison as well. First-round draft pick Jarvis Jones out of Georgia is expected to be Harrison's replacement at LB while second-rounder Le'Veon Bell is expected to contribute to the running game immediately.
The oddsmakers at 5Dimes have the Steelers set at O/U 9 wins for this season. This number looks to be right on the money due to the loss of Wallace and lack of talent on the offensive line that could put Roethlisberger's health at risk again in 2013 though they could easily win less.
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