Three short weeks into the 2010 NFL season, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have made a whole lot of believers out of folks who, quite frankly, didn't think too highly of the team's chances at the outset of the season. Obviously the Steelers benefited from better-than-expected quarterback play during past Sunday's 38-13 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Veteran Charlie Batch tossed three touchdowns, converted several significant third downs with accurate throws, and even kept the sticks moving early in the 3rd quarter with a 24-yard scamper, the longest of his career.
But what most failed to account for when assessing the Steelers' chances at the start of the year was how good their defense might be. Despite enduring its fair share of struggles a year ago, people forget that the same group for the most part turned in one of the better seasons in recent history the year before than in 2008. The Steelers' defense is back to its 2008 form in 2010. Through three games, the Steelers lead the NFL in scoring defense. And after finally breaking through on offense last Sunday, there aren't many in the press who don't feel the Steelers are the cream of the crop at this point. Let's take a look where they stand in various media outlets' weekly NFL Power Rankings.
SB Nation: No. 1 ; Previously: No. 5
- Commentary: Keep in mind that this 3-0 start is coming without Ben Roethlisberger. Their toughest test yet comes to town next week: Ravens. If they can take that game, then it'll be 4-0 without Roethlisberger, which would be truly impressive.
CBS Sports: No. 1 ; Previously: No. 4
- Commentary: Does it matter who plays quarterback? They are 3-0 and have just been dominant on defense. Now comes a real tough test against the Ravens.
ESPN: No. 1 ; Previously: No. 5
- Commentary: Who knew fourth-stringer Charlie Batch was the answer to Pittsburgh's QB woes?
Fanhouse: No. 1 ; Previously: No. 5
- Commentary: The Steelers continue to thrive without Roethlisberger, and it's reasonable to suggest that their performance this year vs. what they did last year is a sign that safety Troy Polamalu is the league's most valuable defensive player. Now that he's healthy, look at what they're doing.
Yahoo Sports: No. 2 ; Previously: N/A
- Commentary: Batch delivered more than they could have asked.
Peter King (MMQ): No. 1 ; Previously: No. 2
USA Today: No. 1 ; Previously: No. 7