The Pittsburgh Steelers' 17-10 defeat against the Houston Texans dropped them to 2-2, and their situation might be worse than it looks, given injuries to Ben Roethlisberger, James Harrison, and a host of other players. ESPN's panel of power-ranking voters moved Pittsburgh down three spots to No. 13 overall, with James Walker noting that Roethlisberger "might not last 16 games behind a horrendous offensive line." He might have a point: only Sam Bradford and Jay Cutler have been sacked more than Roethlisberger this season.
Further, the No. 13 ranking reflects a composite of ESPN's panel. John Clayton (17), Ashley Fox (16), and Walker (15) were far less kind to the Steelers in their voting this week.
Rebecca Rollett of Behind the Steel Curtain, SB Nation's Steelers blog, seems to agree with the more dour assessment of Pittsburgh:
I'm generally an optimist, willing to assume that there are good and sufficient reasons for personnel decisions, coaching schemes, and so on to which we as fans are not privy. But I'm also a pragmatist, and the general sense of malaise in the locker room last night during the post-game interviews was unnerving to me.
Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans (3-1) will test the Steelers' resolve. Tennessee has won each of its last three games by a combined 34 points and leads the AFC South.