Kovacevic: Steelers can’t let Cortez play Sunday

If the Steelers lose the rematch with the rival Ravens this weekend, here's betting it won't be because of the offense. Not with Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell each ranking No. 1 in the NFL at his respective position in Pro Football Focus' most recent rankings. Not with Martavis Bryant's breakout and Markus Wheaton's with maturation adding to the options. Not with the offensive line "completely feeling it now, like a band of brothers," as Kelvin Beachum was telling me Wednesday on the South Side.

If the Steelers lose, here's betting it won't be because they have big heads from the Indianapolis W:

If the Steelers lose, here's betting it won't be because of the defensive front seven. Not with the regaining a push it had previously only showed in Charlotte. Not with Jason Worilds rediscovering his terrorizing 2013 form. Not with Ryan Shazier's return freeing up Lawrence Timmons to perform what Brett Keisel beautifully described as "being a Steeler."

If the Steelers lose, be eminently sure it won't be because of the atmosphere. Not with Mean Joe Greene's No. 75 being retired, a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of the man whose combination of brilliance and bullishness defined "being a Steeler."

No, if the Steelers lose, it will be because Cortez Allen plays a lot.

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