Green Bay made the playoffs, sans Rogers, but yeah.
Doesn't matter how average to bad they were. Baltimore looked like hell down the stretch last year and the AFC is still wide open.
I'll take an extra week of football and a chance to get hot. I'll take knocking an arch-rival out in round one. And I'll always take my chances in Denver with the choke-artist playing QB.
To play contrarian too...I mean, outside of Denver, nobody is playing lights out. I guess you could throw Seattle and San Fran into the mix, but that's in the NFC. In the AFC? Chiefs? Pastries? I know they skadooshed the fuck out of Pittsburgh when they played by dropping 50+, but that was a ballgame at halftime and there were a ton of mistakes made by the Steelers. They've been very up and down too. Squeaked by Cleveland and lost to the Fins in their place.
They're 8-4 after beginning the season 0-4. I think that's saying something
. Plenty of teams...a lot of teams woulda bagged it after that start. Look at the messes in Washington and Atlanta. A little adversity and they just caved to dismal seasons. Look at the Lions who on paper, might be one of the more talented squads in the league and couldn't manage to win a division that was practically gift wrapped for them with Rodgers and Cuntler missing significant time.
Steelers finished on a high note. Don't know how much of that will translate into turning things around in 2014, but we'll see. I'll take something from that. This group didn't quit. That says something for the team and the coaching staff, I 'spose. They aren't as far off as many think. Get healthy and load up on defense. They'll be right back in the thick of things in '14.
If there's one place I think they need to improve it's on talent evaluation/scouting. I think that group has lost touch a little bit. Some new eyes and different perspectives from front office personnel would probably go a long way towards getting them on the right path again.