Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

NPC's NFL Power Rankings Wrapup: Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 17

 

Oh what could have been. Pittsburgh’s 38-31 victory over the Green Bay Packers kept their slim postseason hopes alive on Sunday. Sadly, this team has to be kicking themselves right now over their 2-6 bed-crapping of a start to the 2013 regular season. For the second season in a row, it looks like too little, too late for the underachieving Steelers.

So how far did Pittsburgh actually climb this week in NFL Power Rankings around the country? Take a look below to find out, readers:

 

 

The Steelers were left for dead after losing at home to the Bengals. Just like 2005.

-Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk, Ranked #14)

 

I am not sure what Florio is smoking, but the Steelers didn’t lose to the Bengals at home this year. In fact, they absolutely thrashed the 2013 AFC North champions throughout their 30-20 victory. It’s a shame that they couldn’t play like that against foes like Tennessee, Minnesota and Oakland earlier this fall.

 

 

It’s a total long shot, but the Steelers still have a shot at the playoffs. All they need are losses from the Ravens, Dolphins, Chargers and a partridge in a pear tree.

-Brian Billick (FOX Sports.com, Ranked #17)

 

It is truly a shame that the Steelers need so much help to qualify for the postseason. Unfortunately for them, they only have themselves to blame for their current situation. Digging themselves into 0-4 and 2-6 holes will definitely keep them awake during this long, cold winter.

 

 

The Steelers are somehow alive. Wow. Ben Roethlisberger is playing unreal football.

-Pete Prisco (CBS Sports.com, Ranked #17)

 

The biggest reason why the Steelers have any legitimate shot of making the postseason is because of Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben is having one of the finest statistical seasons of his career, and he is succeeding more in spite of Todd Haley than because of him. Even if Pittsburgh misses the playoffs, I will always remember this season for the way Roethlisberger carried his ridiculously flawed team as far as they could go.

 

 

Antonio Brown has at least five receptions and 50 receiving yards in every game this season. Jimmy Smith was the last receiver to do that in 15 games (2001).

-ESPN.com (Power Rankings, Ranked #17)

 

If Roethlisberger is this team’s 2013 MVP, then Brown runs a close second. Finally out of Mike Wallace’s shadow, Brown has emerged as one of the league’s best wide receivers this fall. Extremely productive, a terrific route-runner and with solid hands to boot, it makes me happy to see that the former Central Michigan Chippewa is signed to a long-term deal.

 

 

 Unbelievable game in Green Bay on so many fronts. That was a Hall of Fame effort by Troy Polamalu, jarring the ball loose from Matt Flynn in the late stages. The punter option was pretty sweet; you can’t stop Mat McBriar from rolling to his right.

-Elliot Harrison (NFL.com, Ranked #16)

 

While many believe that Troy Polamalu could be released during the offseason, I do not think that Pittsburgh can afford to do that. Ryan Clark will be gone next fall, and Polamalu played some extremely productive football this fall. Playing as an extra linebacker at times this year, I hope that we get to see what Troy can do as a strong safety in the final season of his current deal in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

Stats & Contract Info. Provided By: ESPN.comSteelers.comSpotrac and Pro Football Reference

 

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