Obviously the ideal scenario is to have a team that goes 19-0 and sweeps everyone before them, but you have to be realistic and acknowledge that every time will rise and fall throughout the season.
Every season we see a team start out with a flurry of wins and suddenly they are announced as Super Bowl champs while the QB is anointed as the MVP of the season before we’re halfway through, so you would think everyone would eventually realise that and cool off with the sensationalism.
It happened last year when the Patriots were 8-0 and appeared to be on the march to another Lombardi, but even their fans knew that something wasn’t quite right and the overall record masked a lot of deficiencies.
The defence was playing at an unsustainable level against some pretty poor sides, while the offence was quickly figured out and key injuries left the Pats scraping some narrow victories with the 13-9 win over the Cowboys an obvious standout.
Sometimes it’s better to have momentum as a low seed rather than fall away as a higher seed when it comes to Play-off time, so the defeat to the Titans wasn’t even a surprise in the end.
There are some very obvious parallels with the Steelers this season as they started to falter through some of their victories on the way to an 11-0 record, but there were arguments to be made that they were the most underwhelming franchise in history to reach that mark.
They cannot run the ball, while the short passing game has been figured out so they are offering nothing on offence just now, while the defence just cannot be expected to carry them forever.
Big Ben and Tom Brady aren’t identical of course but you can point to ageing QB’s who don’t have the strength to sit in the pocket and take multiple hits anymore, while neither QB had a reliable running game as their season went on so even 3rd and short felt like an absolute chore at times.
Receivers who were once open are now covered up and even when they break free they seem to drop everything, while any positive gain on the ground seems nigh-on impossible just now.
It looks like the Steelers are about to stumble into the playoffs out of form and desperately short on confidence, while it won’t be a surprise at all if they manage to fully emulate the 2019 Pats with a shocker in the playoffs that completely wastes a Championship calibre defence which was firing on all cylinders.