So far this season I have noticed some similarities to the 04 season:
-One loss going into the bye and no real "identity" for people to judge us by:
This happened in 04. We were 5-1 and hadn't really been tested. We had wins over Miami, Cincy, Cleveland, Dallas, and Oakland. The only win that really stood out as impressive was trhe Dallas game. Our first real tests came after the bye week (New England and Philadelphia). Now this year. We have won against Cleveland, Buffalo, San Francisco, and Seattle. The only real impressive or I should say eye opening thing about our 4-1 record is the 21-0 win over Seattle. We have not been tested, but nevertheless we have beaten the crap out of every team we have faced. The next three teams should tell us were we are (Denver, Cincy and Baltimore).
-Possible upset over Undefeated New England:
We all know what happened Halloween of 2004. Tom Brady and the Patriots came into Heinz Field and got smacked by Pittsburgh. It ended a 21 game winning streak for the Pats. This year that game comes much later down the stretch. It comes when both teams could be peaking (scary thought). And it also comes when winning is vital and trust me both teams will want this one. The Patriots, should they get past Dallas, will most likely be undefeated. The Steelers might stay a one loss team or they could have a hiccup between now and then. This will be our biggest game of the year.
-Defense getting back to its roots:
Our defense in 2004 was coming off an awful year in 2003. They stepped it up and became the #1 defense in football in 2004. This year, the defense is coming off a so-so year. We could stop the run, but were just plain bad against the pass. This year, we are excellent at both. We have a streak of like 50 some games with out a 100 yard rusher. We have yet to give up 20 points on defense. I think our defense is for real and we showed it against the Seahawks. Look for our defense to help carry us into the post season.
That is were the similarities end. From here our schedule gets hard and harder. We face some tough challenges ahead, but with our great coaching and great effort, the playoffs are more of a formality than a possibility.
Bye week record prediction: 13-3.