The Steelers have no right being anywhere near a playoff race. Not when they’re down a future Hall of Fame QB, giving carries to practice squad guys and generating points at a clip that looks straight out of the pre-Chuck Noll era. And yet, here they are, with a 5-4 record and a soft upcoming schedule that includes games against the overhyped Browns and winless Bengals. This injury-ravaged, offensively-challenged squad that began the year 1-4 now has a 53 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to Football Outsiders.
And for that, you can thank a defense that is fast, opportunistic, balanced and—most alarmingly for opponents—getting better each week.
Is the curtain rising on another dominant Steelers defense?
Let’s break down how this unit has propped up a nearly pulseless offense and kept Pittsburgh in playoff contention.