We had Roethlisberger listed in the top five of our MVP rankings at midseason because he has been carrying his team all season. Roethlisberger overcame a shoddy offensive line and running game to keep Pittsburgh afloat early. The rest of the team started catching up in recent weeks, but it's hard to imagine Leftwich beating Baltimore. It only takes one hit to shake up a playoff race.
If Roethlisberger is out for an extended period, the Steelers' running game and defense will have to carry them. But this isn't the same Steelers defense you know despite its lofty ranking. Troy Polamalu remains out with a calf injury. Ryan Clark suffered an apparent concussion Monday night. The pass rush only has been decent.
- Roethlisberger still has a long time to recover and possibly return for a playoff push.
It's hard enough to win division rivalry games where you're at full strength. Playing without Roethlisberger would be a devastating blow for the Steelers. Even a Week 12 game at Cleveland would be far from guaranteed.