Steelers Power Rankings: Week 11

The Pittsburgh Steelers have now endured four straight losses and are starting to fall more and more out of the playoff picture. Still, with an easier schedule and a winnable division, there is still hope.

Nov 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers (17) and wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) react after a touchdown by Brown against the Dallas Cowboys during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Dallas won 35-30. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

NFL.com: No. 18

Last Week: No. 20

“The Steelers have been the NFL’s most herky-jerky ballclub this season, with Sunday’s loss the latest installment in a roller coaster of a campaign. Dallas at Pittsburgh delivered not only the game of the weekend, but maybe of 2016. Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown were all brilliant. The issue is that they were playing the best team in the NFC. The difficult thing to know is how excited to get over the productivity of the offense, given that the Cowboys were playing without three starters in the defensive backfield in the second half. That said, I felt Pittsburgh was impressive enough to merit being taken out of the doghouse, i.e., Spot No. 20.” – Elliot Harrison

So, the Steelers went up in the power rankings despite losing another game? Yes, and there’s reason. Elliot Harrison ranked the Steelers extremely low after their loss to the Ravens. By doing so, he basically put the team in his so called “Dog House” saying until they proved otherwise, they would stay low.

In his power rankings, these Cowboys are the best team. They have the best record in the NFL and the Steelers have been the only team to really give them competition. Even Ezekiel Elliot said after the game that the Steelers “were the best team” they had faced all year.

The offense was explosive. The defense clearly has some issues still, and that penalty at the end didn’t help. Four straight losses have definitely been tough for Pittsburgh, but it’s still not over. This week showed what Pittsburgh is capable of, now they just need to finish games.

Nov 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) rushes the ball against Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Dallas won 35-30. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN: No. 9

Last Week: No. 9

“The Steelers could use a win following their first four-game losing streak since 2013, and they may very well get one this week at Cleveland. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is 19-2 in his career against the Browns, who are 0-10 this season.”

Steelers stay still, and reasonably so. ESPN was not an outlet that decided to drop the Steelers off the face of the earth following their loss to Baltimore but moving them up after a loss would be silly when they’re already in the top 10.

The fact of the matter is this. The Steelers are 4-5 and barely hanging onto playoff hopes. Luckily, as the author of this pointed out, the Steelers play the Browns this week; a perfect time to turn things around.

Pittsburgh might be known for losing to bad teams, but Roethlisberger is 19-2 in his career against the Browns and I don’t think they should have an ounce of over confidence heading into this one after the stretch of losses they have endured.

Another thing to note is that Baltimore has played Cleveland twice already and Pittsburgh still has both of those games left. Hidden advantage? Maybe so.

Nov 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) runs after a catch as Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ross Cockrell (31) defends during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Dallas won 35-30. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Fox Sports: No. 18

Last Week: No. 15

“The Steelers aren’t as undisciplined and inconsistent as the Bengals, but they’re getting close. Facemasks, late hits and a lack of awareness on defense cost the Steelers a crucial win over the Cowboys and sunk their playoff hopes a bit. If they want to make it to the postseason, they’ll need to win the division because the wild card will likely come down to two AFC West teams.” – Cameron DaSilva

A loss is a loss, right? DaSilva dropped the Steelers from No. 15 to No. 18 on this list, and while he did the opposite of Harrison in terms of movement, they’ve ended up in the same place. The fact of the matter is this. The Steelers need to win the division.

The Chiefs, Broncos, and Raiders have completely stolen the show and will all make the playoffs via Wild Card or whoever wins the division unless one of them has some major collapse. The inconsistency of Pittsburgh has been painful for Pittsburgh, but there is still time to turn things around.

Pittsburgh has one of the easiest stretches of games a team could ask for, while the Ravens have a schedule entirely made up of above .500 teams and two division matchups against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. In the end, it could end up coming down to the Week 16 Color Rush showdown between Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Now that should be fun.

Yahoo Sports: No. 15

Last Week: No. 10

“We can talk about talent all we want, but if you’re under .500 more than halfway into the season, potential and talent really doesn’t matter much anymore.” -Frank Schwab

Schwab makes a very good point. At the end of the day, all that matters is wins and losses. The Steelers have star power and they have a lot of potential but have failed to pick up the vital wins. It’s hard to argue that teams with better records that might be surprising people are somehow still worse than Pittsburgh just because Pittsburgh seems like a good team.

It’s not over, but Pittsburgh needs to turn it around. I thought the game against Dallas was a big game for them to prove that they are capable of keeping up with the best of the best and if they can just fend off the teams that they are seemingly better than, they can make it to the playoffs.

The loss of Cameron Heyward is going to hurt, and the defense is going to be a huge part of turning things around. We know what this offense can do, but how about this defense? Hard to tell.

Nov 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (90) and linebacker Justin Durant (56) sack Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) during the second half of their game at Heinz Field. The Cowboys won the game, 35-30. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Author’s Opinion: No. 16

Last Week: No. 12

While I could easily argue why the Steelers should stay at No. 12 or even go up, wins and losses are all that matter. It could easily be argued that Pittsburgh should be even lower than No. 16, but they did display a lot of potential against Dallas and that cannot go ignored.

Pittsburgh has really been disappointing this season. They started off great and have just completely sunk. Luckily, both the Bengals and even Ravens are struggling so the AFC North is still very much competitive (Minus the poor Browns).

Cameron Heyward’s absence cannot go ignored, and with the lack of depth on the defensive line, it could become an issue. He was the team’s sack leader and made a huge impact on the run game which could present issues for the team. In the end, it’s all about Next Man Up and the defense will have to weather the storm.

There is still hope, but with every loss, that level of hope is shrinking.

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