Pittsburgh Steelers Record Prediction
Mike Tomlin does not get nearly enough credit for his ability as a Head Coach. There were even rumbles that he is the most overrated coach in the NFL. Are you serious? Even with all of the injuries last season he put together a team that was looking very dangerous late in the season. They just missed they playoffs, but they were playing their best football late last season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers had no right winning 8 games with Mason Rudolph under center. Ben Roethlisberger returning from injury plays a huge role in my Pittsburgh Steelers record prediction, but ultimately it is the overpowered Steel Curtain defense that has me so high on the Steelers.
It’s shocking to hear all the hate directed at Ben Roethlisberger from fans. I know he is coming off injury, but I don’t think he’s washed up. Whether you love or hate the Steelers, you have to admit that he is a massive upgrade from Mason Rudolph. It was only 2 seasons ago that he threw for over 5000 yards, but people have quickly forgot. I don’t think he is in his prime, but he is a proven winner who I believe will transform this roster into a double digit win team.
Juju Smith-Schuster had a very disappointing 2019 season, but this passing offense was abysmal. In 2020 he will not have Rudolph throwing him the football and will be Big Ben’s favorite target. Entering his contract year he will be playing for that massive payday. I was very close to including him on my prediction for the top 10 best wide receivers next season.
As for the other receivers, Diontae Johnson looks to improve on a solid rookie year. This passing offense struggled, but Johnson was the standout player. They will likely have the 3 receiver set including Juju, Johnson and big bodied Chase Claypool. At this point I have given up on James Washington, but they also added red zone threat Eric Ebron at tight end.
There were a lot of speculation about the Steelers drafting a running back early in the draft, but they waited until the 4th round to draft speedster Anthony McFarland. He will fit a pass catching role as James Conner will retain his workhorse role. Conner struggled with injuries last season, but if he stays healthy is a huge sleeper to retain his spot as a top 10 running back. If he can be anything like his 2018 self, this offense will operate much more smoothly.
Once again though, it’s not the offense that has my standards so high for this team. This defense is lights out. There was a brief period where the Steelers were offense dominated, but that is no longer the case. Mike Tomlin has armed this defense with some killers. The Steel Curtain way. They will live or die by their defense.
The only 2 players they lost were Javon Hargrave and Mark Barron. Every other piece on this young defense stays the same. Their young studs will continue to improve.
I loved the trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick last season. Even with Big Ben out for the year, Mike Tomlin traded for a player that he knew would drastically improve the team. Minkah Fitzpatrick is a playmaker and has the supporting cast around him to take those calculated risks that result in 6 points the other way. He is one of the shining stars on this young defense.
While he is the leader of this secondary, the leader of this defense is T.J. Watt. Last season was his coming out party as there were talks of him winning the defensive player of the year. He is a rising superstar who is on route to soon be awarded as the defensive player of the year.
Every great defense needs a solid veteran presence. Both Cameron Hayward and Joe Haden had another great season. While they are on the back end of their career, they provide leadership that quantifies outside of their statistics.
This is still a defense first team, but the big turnaround will be the offense transforming them from an 8 win to 12 win team. Big Ben will make this offense much more efficient leading to a bounce back year for both Juju and James Conner. I’d be shocked to not see the Steelers in the double digits for wins next season.
Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots
Tampa Bay Buccaneers