Perhaps it is premature to raise a question of this nature at this juncture of the season. Yet after the manner in which the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns, it has now become an appropriate topic to discuss.
Before delving into this matter, let us take a trip down memory lane, specifically one year ago. At this time, the Steelers we at a point where much of the discussion was about them picking somewhere in the top ten of the 2020 NFL Draft. In retrospect, with the amount of talent that came from this year's draft class, the idea of getting a high-profile player would have not been a terrible thing.
A few weeks before, they made one of the best moves in recent history, by trading for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins. This would prove to pay dividends, as they started a dramatic turnaround in their season. Though they came short of making the postseason, their performance in the last half of the season would bode well in 2020.
Fast forward to this year; it is safe to say that this is not the same team we saw in 2019.
Putting their undefeated record aside, one thing I have learned about good teams in different sports, is their ability to identify and correct the small details that could give their team an advantage over others.
In their contest against the Cleveland Browns, they were perfect on fourth down efficiency, and posted a high third-down efficiency on offense; meanwhile, their defense relegated the Browns to only one conversion on third down for the game. In essence, these aspects play a tremendous factor in the outcome of a game. Whether it was on the defensive or offensive side of the ball, this Steelers team displayed how fundamentally sound they have become, which makes them dangerous.
With all this in mind, let us now answer the question; is this year's Steelers team a Superbowl contending team? Well, as long as this team continues to be aware of their weaknesses and not rest on their recent laurels, the answer is yes. The road to the Superbowl will surely be a challenging one, considering how strong the AFC North has been so far this season.
One thing is for certain, they are in a much better place than they were a year ago, and for this fanbase, that is what truly counts.