Breaking Down The 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most respected franchises in the NFL. From the owners to the front office to the coaching staff and their players, this team is a model for stability. It doesn't matter what their record is or was, the teams brain trust takes a steady approach to every offseason. Whether it is maintaining stability on the coaching staff, limited moves in free agency or getting its man in the draft—without trading, of course.

But, this isn't your father's Pittsburgh team. This is a new kind Steelers team. Over the last few season this teams aging defense has given way to a young dynamic offense lead by stars QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Antonio Brown and RB Le'Veon Bell. The NFL odds makers have listed Pittsburgh Steelers at 25/1 odds to win Super Bowl 50.

Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 Betting Preview

How good can the steel curtain be after the departure of DC Dick LeBeau and SS Troy Polamalu?

  • 2014 Season Summary: 11-5-0, Finished 1st in AFC North Division
  • 2014 Points Scored: 436 points (27.2/g), 7th of 32 in the NFL.
  • 2014 Points Allowed: 368 points (23.0/g), 18th.
  • Coach: Mike Tomlin (11-5-0)
  • Offensive Coordinator: Todd Haley
  • Defensive Coordinator: Keith Butler
  • Stadium: Heinz Field

Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 Betting Odds:

  • To Win Super Bowl 50: +2900
  • To Win the AFC: +1000
  • To Win the AFC North: +225

Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 Betting Trends:

  • Overall Against the Spread Record: 9-7
  • ATS Record at home: 5-3
  • ATS Record away from home: 4-4
  • ATS Record as favorites: 6-5
  • ATS Record as underdogs: 3-2
  • Over/Under Record: 9-7

AFC North 2014 Standings:

AFC North W L T PCT PF PA HOME ROAD DIV PCT AFC PCT NFC STREAK
Pittsburgh 11 5 0 .688 436 368 6-2 5-3 4-2 .667 9-3 .750 2-2 Won 4
Cincinnati 10 5 1 .656 365 344 5-2-1 5-3 3-3 .500 7-5 .583 3-0-1 Lost 1
Baltimore 10 6 0 .625 409 302 6-2 4-4 3-3 .500 6-6 .500 4-0 Won 1
Cleveland 7 9 0 .438 299 337 4-4 3-5 2-4 .333 4-8 .333 3-1 Lost 5

2015 Pittsburgh Steelers Offense:

The Steelers offense second in passing and 16th in rushing. Combine those stats and this offense, powered by Big Ben and Antonio Brown, was the second best in the league last season, only behind Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.

QB Ben Roethlisberger (4952 yards, 32 TDs & 9 INTs) had one of the best years of his career, with the help of WR Antonio Brown (129 rec, 1698 yards, 13 TDs), who led all wideouts, and RB Le'Veon Bell (290 att, 1361 yards, 8 TDs) who was the second best tailback last season, only behind RB DeMarco Murray.

Mid-season last year, the Steelers cut RB LeGarrette Blount after his humming and hawing about playing time and then a few short weeks later when they needed a proven backup they didnt have one. Bell was lost during hte last game of the regular season last year, killing any hopes of beating Baltimore in their wild-card matchup. So Pittsburgh went out and added veteran, underachieving RB DeAngelo Williams (62 att, 219 yards, 0 TDs with the Carolina Panthers), who can be productive in short yards situations.

The Steelers then added even more depth to their offense by selecting WR Sammie Coates, from Auburn (34 rec, 741 yards, 4 TDs) and TE Jesse James, from Penn State (38 rec, 396 yards, 3 TDs) in the 2015 draft.

  • Key Additions: RB DeAngelo Williams.
  • Key Departures: WR Lance Moore, RB Ben Tate.

Steelers' Projected 2014 Offensive Starters:

  • QB Ben Roethlisberger
  • WR Antonio Brown
  • WR Markus Wheaton
  • TE Heath Miller
  • RB Le'Veon Bell
  • FB Will Johnson
  • LT Kelvin Beachum
  • LG Ramon Foster
  • C Maurkice Pouncey
  • RG David DeCastro
  • RT Marcus Gilbert

2015 Pittsburgh Steelers Defense:

The Steelers D lost their defensive co-ordinator and their biggest defensive playmaker in the offseason. How will this team deal with the loss of Dick LeBeau and Troy Polamalu?

Dick LeBeau was the longest-tenured defensive coordinator in the NFL when the 2014 season ended, having been with the Steelers since the start of the 2004 season. Beloved by his players and hailed as an innovator with the zone blitz scheme he developed to counter run-and-shoot offenses in the 1990s, LeBeau spent two stints as the Steelers' defensive coordinator. A LeBeau led defense has been featured in four of the Steelers eight Super Bowls.

During Polamalu's 12-year career he accumulated over 700 tackles, 14 forced fumbles and 32 interceptions for the Steelers. He started 12 games for the Steelers in 2014 -- while missing four contests because of a knee injury -- and did not intercept a pass or record a sack in a season for only the second time in his career.

"Since the end of the season I've had a chance to enjoy my family on a level that I never had before. It was awesome," Polamalu told the Herald-Standard of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. His decision to walk away from the game ultimately came down to wanting to spend more time with his wife, Theodora, and young sons, Paisios and Ephram.

"Thank God football has provided me the ability to be able to sit back and see what the options are. But I'll definitely be the best father I can be."

Polamalu added with a laugh: "Maybe it was a sign for me to retire when I chase my kids around and couldn't catch them. It was either a sign for me to retire or a sign for them to begin training."

Polamalu, a first-round draft pick (No. 16 overall) of the Steelers in 2003 out of USC, finishes his career with 32 interceptions, tied for seventh-most in franchise history. He returned three of the interceptions for touchdowns, recovered seven fumbles and collected a dozen sacks.

An eight-time Pro Bowler and the 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, he is considered a future Pro Football Hall of Famer and one of the greatest safeties of his generation.

The Steelers also lost veterans DE Brett Keisel and CB Ike Taylor during the off-season. Combine all of these changes on defense and the front-office is showing a commitment to this is unit is young, talented and hungry defenders. Furthering their commitment to reclaiming the moniker of the Steel Curtain, Pittsburgh picked six rookie defenders in the 2015 NFL draft, including OLB Bud Dupree, from Kentucky (74 tackles, 7.5 sacks) and CB Senquez Golson, Ole Miss (43 tackles, 10 INTs) in the first two rounds.

"Obviously, it's something that's extremely important to us," free safety Mike Mitchell said about getting their hand on the ball more often. "We didn't get enough turnovers last year."

"I think we did a decent job of getting our hands on the ball," Mitchell continued. "Coach (Mike Tomlin) doesn't want to give us any credit, though. I think I had three (last) Thursday. He said they weren't interceptions, they were catches. So we're working on getting interceptions, not just catching the ball when it comes to us.

  • Key Additions: None
  • Key Departures: CB Brice McCain, DE Bret Keisel, SS Troy Polamalu, CB Ike Taylor, OLB Jason Worilds.

Steelers' Projected 2014 Defensive Starters (3-4 D):

  • DE Stephon Tuitt
  • NT Steve McLendon
  • DE Cameron Heyward
  • OLB Bud Dupree
  • ILB Ryan Shazier
  • ILB Lawrence Timmons
  • OLB Jarvis Jones
  • CB Cortez Allen
  • CB William Gay
  • SS Will Allen
  • FS Mike Mitchell

Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 Draft Class:

  • Round 1, Pick 22: OLB Bud Dupree, Kentucky (74 tackles, 7.5 sacks)
  • Round 2, Pick 56: CB Senquez Golson, Ole Miss (43 tackles, 10 INTs)
  • Round 3, Pick 87: WR Sammie Coates, Auburn (34 rec, 741 yards, 4 TDs)
  • Round 4, Pick 121: CB Doran Grant, Ohio State (63 tackles, 5 INTs)
  • Round 5, Pick 160: TE Jesse James, Penn State (38 rec, 396 yards, 3 TDs)
  • Round 6, Pick 199: DT Leterrius Walton, Central Michigan (33 tackles, 2.0 sacks)
  • Round 6, Pick 212: DE Anthony Chickillo, Miami (FL) (41 tackles, 3.0 sacks)
  • Round 7, Pick 239: S Gerod Holliman, Louisville (44 tackles, 14 INTS)

Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 Schedule and Point Spread:

  • Week 1 Thu, Sep 10 PIT (+2.5) @ New England 8:30 PM NBC
  • Week 2 Sun, Sep 20 PIT (-2.5) vs San Francisco 1:00 PM FOX
  • Week 3 Sun, Sep 27 PIT (+1) @ St. Louis 1:00 PM CBS
  • Week 4 Thu, Oct 1 PIT (-2.5) vs Baltimore 8:25 PM CBS/NFL
  • Week 5 Mon, Oct 12 PIT (+1) @ San Diego 8:30 PM ESPN
  • Week 6 Sun, Oct 18 PIT (-2.5) vs Arizona 1:00 PM FOX
  • Week 7 Sun, Oct 25 PIT (+1) @ Kansas City 1:00 PM CBS
  • Week 8 Sun, Nov 1 PIT (-3) vs Cincinnati 1:00 PM CBS
  • Week 9 Sun, Nov 8 PIT (-9.5) vs Oakland 1:00 PM CBS
  • Week 10 Sun, Nov 15 PIT (-7.5) vs Cleveland 1:00 PM CBS
  • Week 11 BYE WEEK
  • Week 12 Sun, Nov 29 PIT (+5.5) @ Seattle 4:25 PM CBS
  • Week 13 Sun, Dec 6 PIT (-2.5) vs Indianapolis 8:30 PM NBC
  • Week 14 Sun, Dec 13 PIT (+1) @ Cincinnati 1:00 PM CBS
  • Week 15 Sun, Dec 20 PIT (-1) vs Denver 4:25 PM CBS
  • Week 16 Sun, Dec 27 PIT (+2) @ Baltimore 8:30 PM NBC
  • Week 17 Sun, Jan 3 @ Cleveland 1:00 PM CBS

The Steelers will be in the postseason, led by their new and improved offense; however, their defense is too young to make a run at the Super Bowl.

Connect With The Pittsburgh Steelers:

How To Bet The Pittsburgh Steelers Futures: Steelers will go 12-4 and lose the AFC Final.

Sources:

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/pit/2015.htm
http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/pit/
http://espn.go.com/nfl/team/_/name/pit/pittsburgh-steelers
http://www.nfl.com/teams/profile?team=PIT