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One-on-One: What team is the best in the NFL?

Originally published November 12, 2010

New York Giants

In a season as predictable as a season of “Lost,” the NFL still has no clear-cut favorite. Only two teams rank in the top 10 of both total offense and total defense.

To be more specific, only one team ranks in the top five, and that would be the New York Giants.

The Giants’ defense has given up the least total yards in the league. Led by defensive line All-Pros Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, the Giants’ defense is as bone breaking as the defense that kept the greatest offense in the history of the NFL to only 14 Super Bowl points.

Trust me, I’m a Cowboys fan and I’ve seen what they have done to Tony Romo as I watched my Super Bowl hopes get killed by the Giants twice in the last four years.

Their offense has the fourth most total yards, thanks to the most balanced offense in the league. The Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs running back duo lulls opponents to sleep while Eli Manning can weave through defenses with the consistent Steve Smith and the explosive Hakeem Nicks as his go-to receivers.

While the old New York baseball Giants are celebrating a championship in their San Francisco digs, the New York football Giants are looking like they could be doing the same for New York in February.

-Zach Berg

 Pittsburgh Steelers

Parity and mediocrity are naughty words to the NFL, and over the last few years a handful of teams have kept the pundits at bay. But 2010 has developed without a juggernaut.

The Colts, Patriots and Saints have taken a step back and let others file in to smell the sweet scent of victory.

In a sea of two- and three-loss teams, one team has stepped forward – the Pittsburgh Steelers.

As usual, the Steelers have not only one of the most physical defensive units, but a run defense that scares the best of running backs.

Pittsburgh leads the league in fewest yards per game allowed on the ground. And with notorious big hitters on defense like Troy Polamalu and James Harrison, they make their opponents quiver in their boots come Sundays.

But the main reason to believe in the Steelers this season is definitely the slimiest.

Now I will never condone his offseason extracurriculars, but Ben Roethlisberger is a great quarterback. His numbers might not be fantastic week in and week out, but he wins. In his first five seasons, he already had secured two Super Bowls.

The Steelers have the components to make noise down the stretch.

-Bill Hopkins

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