2020 Pittsburgh Steelers Predictions and Season Win Total Picks
The Steelers don’t do losing.
Since the turn of the century, the Steelers have produced one losing season. One. They went 6-10 in 2003. That’s it. They’ve finished .500 or better for 16 straight years.
Between 1989 and 2019 – a span of 31 seasons – do you know how many losing seasons the Steelers endured? Four. FOUR! For comparison’s sake, during that same time frame New England has had seven losing seasons and the Cowboys nine.
The Lords of Western Pennsylvania have been the No. 1 football family of the last 50 years. So when they do get knocked down, they don’t stay down very long. And when they return, they generally do so with a sledgehammer, a keg, and horrible intentions.
It is kind of unbelievable that the Steelers went 8-8 last year considering they had the equivalent of a wet mop playing quarterback most of the year. The Steelers were 8-5 at one point and actually in the playoff mix despite the grotesqueries of Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges and Jaylen Samuels (combined 18 touchdowns and 18 interceptions).
This year the Steelers welcome back Ben Roethlisberger. I am going on record now as saying that Roethlisberger will only be slightly better than the three stooges they used under center in 2019. Despite some gaudy numbers in 2018, Big Ben had been showing signs of an imminent and significant decline. Questionable decision-making in the red zone and increased turnovers have been bubbling up in his play over the last four years. It’s not like the 37-year-old has ever been a picture of physical health, either, and his return from elbow surgery is far from a certainty.
But beyond my own personal disinclination toward Roethlisberger, there is nothing not to like about the Black and Gold. They can physically dominate opponents in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Their skill position players – James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Eric Ebron – are rock solid. And their secondary is one of the best in football.
Pittsburgh has finished in the Top 6 in total defense for three straight seasons. Last year they were No. 30 in total offense, but in the five years prior they were in the league’s Top 10 in both scoring and yards gained. If they return to that level of production, then this looks like a 10- or 11-win team (again).
The Steelers also have an extremely manageable schedule. They should go at least 4-2 in their division. They also crossover with the league’s worst division, the NFC East, as well as the AFC South. I can’t see any fewer than five wins in those eight games. That means they simply have to win one of their two crossover games (vs. Denver or at Buffalo) to get to 10 wins.
Finally, the Steelers went 8-8 last year and 9-6-1 in 2018. Over the last 30 years there has been only one stretch (1998-2000) in which the Steelers went three straight seasons without winning 10 or more games at least once. I see them hitting double-digits again this fall.
Take Pittsburgh Steelers ‘Over’ 9.0 Wins.
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