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Insider Only Monday Buzz Column: Steelers a Good bet for Super Bowl 51? On Letang, Crosby’s soaring production under Sullivan

Inside Pittsburgh Sports


Who do you like in Super Bowl 51?

The Steelers are a better bet than the Broncos according to the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas. They are 8-1. The Broncos are 14-1.

You can also get 8-1 on the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.

The Carolina Panthers are 10 to 1.

The Steelers are in pretty good company with the Patriots and the Seahawks, but do they belong in that company?

And do you like the Steelers’ chances of winning the Super Bowl better than the Carolina Panthers’ who are 22-5 since Week 14 of the 2014 season and will be bringing back the league MVP to play quarterback?

Von Miller, Super Bowl 50’s MVP, is an unrestricted free agent and the Broncos aren’t letting him go, which means their defense will start the 2016 season as the best in the league.

Everybody around the NFL loves the Steelers offense and the wise guys in Vegas seem to love it just as much. And why shouldn’t they?

If Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’ Veon Bell are healthy, they are just about unstoppable.

But everybody may also like the Steelers’ defense a little too much.

It played a lot better than anybody expected it could but it ran into six consecutive backup quarterbacks in weeks 10 through 15.

Could the Steelers’ offense have done better than the Panthers’ offense against the Broncos yesterday?

Good chance.

After watching Cam Newton gag Sunday, I think it’s fair to say that Roethlisberger is a better quarterback than he is and Roethlisberger put up some good numbers against the Broncos. Although they played without most of their starting defensive backfield in the regular season game.

I have to admit that I didn’t see a lot off Newton during the regular season, but I did see his highlights and his stats and I called him the best quarterback in the league.

I changed my mind. Not only do I think Roethlisberger is better, I wouldn’t take Newton over Russell Wilson of Seattle.

Yeah,that was a great defense Newton played against yesterday, but he overthrew some wide open receivers. He gagged.

But, if you’re going to bet on the Steelers winning Super Bowl 51, you’re betting on a defense that wasn’t nearly as good as it looked the second half of the season.

That’s a defense that will have to face the Patriots, Cowboys and Giants at home next season, not to mention the Bengals, who had them beaten with A.J. McCarron at quarterback and the Ravens, who beat them with Ryan Mallet.

The Broncos won’t have Peyton Manning next year, but he had little or nothing to do with their Super Bowl win on Sunday.

They look like a better than 14-1 bet to at least make it to Super Bowl 51.

They also look like a better bet than the Steelers right now.


Johnston had lots to do with Crosby’s struggles, players admit to having fun again

-Do you think Sidney Crosby’s back? Do you think his former coach, Mike Johnston, might have had something to do with his embarrassingly low production over the first two months of the season?

Since Johnston was fired on December 13th, Crosby has played 22 games. He’s scored 16 goals with 14 assists.

Thirty points in 22 games is an average of 1.36 points per game.

Crosby’s career average before the season was 1.36.

Last season, with Johnston as his coach, Crosby averaged 1.09 points per game- low for him but the best in the league.

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About The Author

John Steigerwald

TIOPS Columnist

John Steigerwald, a life long Pittsburgher, has been covering PITTSBURGH sports since 1977 as a TV anchor/reporter, columnist radio reporter/commentator and talk show host. He is also the author of one of the best selling local books in Pittburgh history, "Just Watch The Game."

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