Ben Roethlisberger's suspension for at least four games and the team's 9-7 record last season has many in the prognostication field leaving the Steelers out of the playoffs again this season. But one prominent NFL reporter is picking the Steelers to raise the Lombardi Trophy for the seventh time.
Sports Illustrated picked the Steelers to win Super Bowl XLV. Senior NFL writer Peter King predicted the Steelers will beat the Green Bay Packers, 33-27, to win the championship.
"Sounds good to me," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "We're excited to get another one. I think we have the makeup for a great team in here. If we can just stay healthy and play hard, then I think we have the guys to do it."
Veteran receiver Hines Ward said the Steelers usually do their best work when the experts don't pick them.
"I like Peter King," Ward said. "Look back in time. The years we won, we kind of flew under the radar. There is something about this team. We play pretty good when people count us out."
The last time King correctly predicted the winner of the Super Bowl before the season? It was 1995, when the Cowboys beat the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. This week's issue of Sports Illustrated hits newsstands today.
Second-year cornerback Kennan Lewis had a rough game in the 34-17 loss Sunday night at Denver. He was flagged twice for personal foul penalties, the second of which prompted coach Mike Tomlin to pull him for the rest of the game.
After the game was over, Lewis hit a sign and shattered glass on his way to the locker room. Tomlin said that Lewis would pay for the damage.
"I know I was wrong in what I've done," Lewis said. "That's why I'm here positive today and trying to get better."
Lewis had been battling veteran Bryant McFadden for a starting position. McFadden is not expected to play against Carolina in the preseason finale Thursday night at Heinz Field.
"It was a bad night," Lewis said. "We play ball for a long time. You have bad moments sometimes. I'll study harder and go from there."
The Steelers reached their 75-man roster limit after making six moves on Tuesday.
The team waived five players who were not on their roster last season: linebacker Brandon Renkart, cornerback David Pittman, fullback Dwayne Wright and guard Adrian Jones. Rookie guard Chris Scott, who had been on the physically unable to perform list since the beginning of training camp, was placed on the reserve/PUP list.
Veteran linebacker Andre Frazier, on the roster for each of their past two Super Bowl teams, was released from the injured reserve list.
The Steelers must decide on their 53-man roster by Saturday.
Fans are encouraged to arrive early for Thursday's game to avoid expected traffic jams. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. ... Carolina is 1-2 in the preseason with the lone victory coming last week against Tennessee. The Panthers lost to Baltimore and the New York Jets. ... Three former Pitt players are on Carolina's offensive line: starting right tackle Jeff Otah, backup guard C.J. Davis and third-string tackle Rob Petitti.