2021 record: 9-7-1
2022 bye week: 9
Most impactful additions: QB Mitchell Trubisky, QB Kenny Pickett (first round), WR George Pickens (second round), WR Miles Boykin
Most impactful departure: QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
Easiest part(s) of schedule: There really is none. There are games in which the Steelers likely will be favored, but not a whole lot of them.
They get the Jets in Week 4, but it is sandwiched in between five real toughies. They go to Atlanta on Dec. 4, but they are at Indianapolis on a Monday night the week before and home for Baltimore the week after.
The official strength of schedule – based on last year’s final records – is 12th, but it sure looks tougher than that to me.
Toughest part(s) of schedule: Where to start? How about the first three weeks at Cincinnati, vs. New England and at Cleveland with either Trubisky or a rookie at quarterback?
Worse than that, after the aforementioned game against the Jets, the Steelers travel to Buffalo, host Tampa Bay, then have two more road games at Miami and Philadelphia before their bye week.
Finishing up against Las Vegas, at Baltimore and against a Cleveland team that could need that Week 18 game to make the playoffs is no picnic.
Caesars over/under win total: 7.5 – Under -105 / Over -135; Odds to win Super Bowl LVII at +8000
Book it: UNDER. I wanted so badly to pick the over here, but this schedule with this offensive line and quarterback (whoever it is) won’t allow me. In fact, I think I might be a little generous with the six-win projection, and it only is that high because I think Mike Tomlin is one of the best coaches in the NFL.
Is this the year Tomlin decides he has had enough in the Steel City and takes a break when the campaign is over? Very well could be, especially if he suffers his first-ever losing season.
No question Pittsburgh’s defense could be one of the better units in the league, despite their 24th ranking last year. A linebacking corps with a potential MVP candidate in TJ Watt, along with Devin Bush, Myles Jack and Alex Highsmith is as good a group as there is.
That being said, they could be on the field an awful lot with either Trubisky or Pickett back there at quarterback (as they run for their lives quite a bit). Najee Harris is one of the most underrated running backs in the league, and really could follow in Derrick Henry’s footsteps and a 2,000-yard rusher some season in the future, but it won’t be this year.
Not a ton of value on the -135 to bet the under 7.5 wins, but where one could find value is betting plenty of unders on lookahead lines. (Because they will only go down once this team actually begins the season.)
Projected finish: 6-11
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Categories: Upstate Action