Steelers' Win-Loss Predictions for 2023 NFL Season
Fans know that the preseason is meaningless in the grand scheme of things. However, the Pittsburgh Steelers' 2-0 start has yielded several encouraging signs.
Quarterback Kenny Pickett has shown full command of Matt Canada's offense and appears poised to pick up where he left off in 2022, winning seven of his final nine games. The defense, meanwhile, has looked stiff, surrendering just 32 combined points to the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Of course, the true measuring stick will come on September 10, when Pittsburgh opens the regular season against the San Francisco 49ers. A win against San Francisco could very well spark a successful season and a return to the playoffs.
What are realistic expectations for Pittsburgh overall? Let's dive into the schedule, tackle the biggest remaining questions and make a few predictions.
Steelers 2023 Schedule
Week 1: San Francisco 49ers
Week 2: Cleveland Browns
Week 3: at Las Vegas Raiders
Week 4: at Houston Texans
Week 5: Baltimore Ravens
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: at Los Angeles Rams
Week 8: Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 9: Tennessee Titans
Week 10: Green Bay Packers
Week 11: at Cleveland Browns
Week 12: at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 13: Arizona Cardinals
Week 14: New England Patriots
Week 15: at Indianapolis Colts
Week 16: Cincinnati Bengals
Week 17: at Seattle Seahawks
Week 18: at Baltimore Ravens
Analysis and Expectations
On paper, the Steelers' roster has the look of a playoff contender. Pickett is expected to show growth in his second season, the Steelers retooled their offensive line, and Pickett will have new playmakers in Allen Robinson II and a healthy Calvin Austin III
Austin missed his 2022 rookie campaign with a foot injury but should inject some speed into Pittsburgh's passing and return games. He's also seen the offense come together as a unit throughout training camp.
"We've definitely come together. You can tell from how we operate. There's not a lot of people asking each other questions," Austin said, per Chris Mack of 93.7 The Fan.
Defensively, the Steelers boast a unit that ranked 10th in points allowed a year ago. With Patrick Peterson and Joey Porter Jr. joining the back end, that defense could be even better this year.
The only real questions are whether players like Isaac Seumalo and rookie Broderick Johnson can immediately upgrade the line—and if Najee Harris can return to being a Pro Bowl running back after playing inconsistently last season.
The oddsmakers in Vegas aren't totally buying in just yet, and the over/under for Pittsburgh wins currently sits at 8.5, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Pittsburgh is +450 (bet $100 to win $450) to win their division and +3000 to reach the Super Bowl as AFC Champion.
My gut feeling is that general expectations aren't as high for Pittsburgh as they probably should be. The biggest concern is that the Steelers play in a loaded AFC North, but even a last-place finish could see nine or more wins.
Here's where we point out that the Steelers have never experienced a losing season under head coach Mike Tomlin. If the over/under is 8.5, I'm taking the over every time.
Winning the division and getting past teams like the Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills in the playoffs is another matter. Pittsburgh is probably a year away from entering that conversation. However, an improved Pickett, a healthy T.J. Watt and a seasoned coach in Tomlin make the Steelers a team that no one will want to face in the postseason.
And the path to the playoffs isn't particularly daunting. Pittsburgh faces the eight-easiest strength of schedule based on 2022 winning percentage (.470).
The Steelers will also play nine home games versus only eight on the road, and they won't play more than two consecutive games away from Acrisure Stadium at any point.
Those AFC North games will be difficult, but if Pittsburgh can manage to go .500 within the division, reaching double-digit wins is realistic.
Win-Loss Prediction: 10-7
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