Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 reasons they’ll return to playoffs

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers waltzed to an AFC North title by six games last season. Don’t expect Pittsburgh to struggle to return to the playoffs in 2018.

Mike Tomlin was certainly pleased with his team’s 13-3 record last season. That doesn’t mean he is satisfied. He knows it’s his job to drive the Steelers all the way to the Super Bowl this season. Fortunately, Pittsburgh has the talent to win a championship this season.

Of course, it takes more than talent to reach the top of the mountain. The Steelers will also need a healthy dose of luck. No team wins the Super Bowl without catching some breaks. Tomlin and company will hope 2018 is their year.

The Steelers have an excellent chance to make a deep playoff run this year. These are the top five reasons why you can back the Steelers to be a postseason participant. We start with the team’s excellent pass defense.

PITTSBURGH, PA – JANUARY 14: Artie Burns #25 and Joe Haden #21 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrate a third down stop during the fourth quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jaguars defeat Pittsburgh 45-42. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

5. Strong corners

Joe Haden and Artie Burns might not be the best cornerback duo in the NFL, but they aren’t far off. If either guy played for another team, he could easily be considered the team’s No. 1 defensive back. With the Steelers, they both shoulder the load equally.

Haden generally draws the tougher assignment, but very little separates he and Burns in terms of their performance. That allows the defensive coaching staff to keep their secondary schemes pretty simple. You won’t see Pittsburgh chase many wide receivers around the field with their cornerbacks. Each player has a side of the field they are responsible for on almost every snap.

The play of Haden and Burns is particularly important since the Steelers don’t necessarily have a top-shelf pass rusher on the roster. Sometimes they are forced to cover receivers for extended periods of time. They don’t make every play, but they make more than their share. The Steelers should be able to ride a strong secondary into the playoffs.

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