CBS Sports’ Week 8 NFL Power Rankings have our Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 4, behind the Packers, Patriots and 49ers.
That was a tough trip to Arizona and they came through it well. For their reward: Patriots at home.
That’s some world-class insight from CBS Sports right there. Hey, here’s a secret – power rankings don’t mean anything! They are simply the 30 NFL teams placed in somebody’s weird order! Nobody who makes them actually thinks about what they mean, or expects that anyone will care in three weeks that somebody’s No. 2-ranked team was actually any good at all! Power rankings! Some CBS employee ranks your team, then takes a glance at its schedule and writes a whole sentence about it! The schedule! Awesome!
Anyway, most outlets have the Steelers at No. 5. The wacky thing CBS did here was put the Saints at No. 8. The Baltimore Ravens are at No. 6.
Don’t look now, but the reigning AFC champs have won three straight. (Walker)
The “Walker” there is the usually-excellent blogger James Walker, and that’s ESPN’s entire explanation for placing the Steelers fifth. Why they need about 90 authors to write these power rankings is beyond me.
Anyway, ESPN-bashing aside, the Baltimore Ravens rank sixth after their ugly loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. The 4-2 Bengals climb two spots to No. 16, and the 3-3 Cleveland Browns are at No. 24. ESPN’s entry on the Patriots, at No. 2, notes that their upcoming game against the Steelers could foreshadow a future playoff matchup, which makes sense – the Steelers haven’t always looked like a great team this year, but they probably are a playoff team.
After picking up their third straight victory on Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers improved to 5-2 on the season. The win, coupled with the Baltimore Ravens’ loss on Monday Night Football, put Pittsburgh squarely atop the AFC North as the season approaches the halfway mark. FOX Sports analyst Brian Billick moved Pittsburgh up three places in his NFL Power Rankings, to No. 5, one spot ahead of the Ravens. This Steelers team reminds Billick of last year’s, which won the AFC Championship. He explains:
The Steelers remain near the top of the league in most defensive categories, but it just doesn’t feel that way. They are not all that different from last year’s Super Bowl team that was not dominant in any offensive category but was very effective nonetheless.
The former Baltimore coach notes that the next two weeks will be telling for Pittsburgh, as it hosts the New England Patriots (5-1) this Sunday and the Ravens on Nov. 6. (4-2). It’ll be a sound test for a team that’s recovered nicely from its 2-2 start.
Elsewhere in the AFC North, Billick has the Bengals (4-2) at No. 15, and the Browns (3-3) at No. 23.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are starting to turn their season around and reminding us why we thought they were one of the favorites in the AFC before the season began. As a result, they continue to climb up various Power Rankings from all around the Internet. The latest is from Pro Football Talk, and they have Steelers ranked as the No. 5 team in all of football.
We’d hate to see how much better this team would be if the defense weren’t old and washed up.
I think we would all prefer to call them experienced, instead of old. They certainly have been around the block, but more often than not, it's those wise and well-traveled teams that succeed when they reach the Playoffs. See how many synonyms are out there that sound better than old? But the Steelers are starting to get their act together, and when they're playing as well as they can, they are one of the toughest teams to beat.