Saturday, October 16, 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers Week 6 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 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: 19.2 (20th)
  • Best ranking: 16th (Multiple)
  • Worst ranking: 23rd (CBS Sports)

Below you will find a Week 6 roundup for the Steelers in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 21

Most improved player: DL Cameron Heyward

How they've improved: Playing like a man on a mission, Heyward has been the anchor on a Steelers defensive front that's been in flux with a series of injuries. Through five games, the 11-year veteran is Pro Football Focus' highest-graded interior defender, outpacing Aaron Donald and Jonathan Allen. As a unit, the Steelers' pass rush hasn't been able to get as much pressure as previous seasons, but Heyward is still a force with 14 solo tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. -- Brooke Pryor -- Rank: 16

Progress. The Steelers desperately needed to show signs of it on offense in Week 5, and that's exactly what they did. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 253 yards and two scores, and Najee Harris produced like the first-round pick he is in a 27-19 win over the Broncos. It wasn't all good news for the offense, however: JuJu Smith-Schuster's season is over after he suffered a shoulder injury that will require surgery. Pittsburgh has a good group of playmakers at wide receiver, but Smith-Schuster was a treasured safety valve in the slot for a veteran quarterback who loves to get the ball out quickly when the pass rush closes in (and even when it doesn't).

CBS Sports -- Rank: 23

They showed some fight in handling the Broncos the way they did Sunday. The defense dominated for much of the game. Could that be the game that gets them going?

USA Today -- Rank: 16

RB Najee Harris may run away and hide with the offensive rookie of the year award as he seemingly improves each week, culminating with a 122-yard rushing effort Sunday. He leads all rookies with 307 yards on the ground and 28 receptions.

The Athletic -- Rank: 20

Breakout player: Diontae Johnson has gotten better each year since becoming a third-round pick out of Toledo in 2019. Now he's clearly Pittsburgh's No. 1 target, even before JuJu Smith-Schuster was injured. Johnson has 25 receptions for 305 yards and three touchdowns, which if you do the math (we don't feel like it), you'll see he's headed for a huge year for the Steelers and shrewd fantasy owners.

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