Saturday, January 2, 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers Week 17 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2020 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Pittsburgh Steelers rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 6.6 (7th)
  • Best ranking: 5th (ESPN)
  • Worst ranking: 8th (USA Today)

Below you will find a Week 17 roundup for the Steelers in our consensus 2020 NFL Power Rankings.

The Athletic -- Rank: 7

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR: There's a case for edge defender Bud Dupree or left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, but we'll give Smith-Schuster the nod. He was terrific with nine catches for 96 yards in the Steelers' comeback win over the Colts and has 91 catches for 766 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Smith-Schuster is at his best in the slot, where he can pick up tough yards in the intermediate part of the field. And he'll be just 24 at the start of next season.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 6

That was an amazing comeback against the Colts. Ben Roethlisberger looked like his old self in that game.

USA Today -- Rank: 8

With a league-leading and career-high 15 sacks, will OLB T.J. Watt add a fourth defensive player of the year award to Watt trophy case?

ESPN -- Rank: 5

New Year's resolution: Restructure big-money contracts

NFL teams, they're just like us. We both have to deal with budgeting -- especially to start a new year. The Steelers are going to be in that boat, as contracts including those of Ben Roethlisberger, Stephon Tuitt, Joe Haden and Steven Nelson eat up big chunks of the cap, making it nearly impossible to re-sign most of the 19 impending unrestricted free agents -- and that doesn't include giving OLB T.J. Watt a well-earned megadeal. The Steelers need to work some magic in the checkbook to field a team that even loosely resembles the one that started 11-0 this year, otherwise they'll be starting from close to scratch with a 39-year-old quarterback. -- Brooke Pryor -- Rank: 7

The Steelers looked cooked. The Colts were piling up points while Pittsburgh's offense remained trapped in a comatose state. The mighty Steelers, who began the month with dreams of a perfect season, were staring down a collapse of historic proportions. But then Ben Roethlisberger hit Diontae Johnson with a beautifully placed deep-strike TD on Pittsburgh's second possession of the third quarter, a play that seemed to snap Pittsburgh out of its existential funk. Big Ben threw for two more scores, and the Pittsburgh defense returned to form in a 28-24 comeback win that clinched the AFC North. The Steelers still can't run the football, and concerns will linger about the one-dimensional nature of the offense, but Sunday's comeback was vital in terms of exorcising the demons that had crept into the house.

+ Previous update: Pittsburgh Steelers Week 16 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

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