The Pittsburgh Steelers have been disappointing over the last few seasons. The team has missed the playoffs in recent years, and that has caused a lot of uproar from fans who are expecting more. Those fans should be satisfied this season, however, as the Steelers should make a return to the postseason with a winning season.
The Steelers have revitalized themselves. Their problem in the past few seasons has been that they were old and slow on defense. The Steelers have now infused youth and speed in that area with Ryan Shazier and Mike Mitchell. The Steelers have also made their run game a threat again with Le’Veon Bell coming back for a second season and LeGarrette Blount joining the team as a change-of-pace back.
The most important improvement may be on the offensive line, where Mike Munchak has taken over as the offensive line coach and will be looking to get the best out of the Steelers’ young line.
All of these improvements should give the Steelers more guaranteed wins on their schedule this season, including games against the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars. But how well the team does this season will be how the Steelers perform in some key games.
The most important games the Steelers will play this season will be in their own division. They will have to beat their biggest rivals, the Baltimore Ravens, at least once to win the AFC North. They will also have to win at least one of their games late in the season against the Cincinnati Bengals, as those games could decide who wins the division and who goes to the playoffs.
Other than their division, the Steelers will need to have good showings against the teams in the NFC North. The Steelers’ biggest problem last season was their pass defense, and the NFC South features high-powered passing offenses such as the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons.
With those key games in mind, I think the Steelers will have a winning season. I think they will split their games with the Ravens and Bengals. They should go .500 against the NFC South, losing to those high-powered offenses with the Saints and Falcons. They will also likely lose to a strong Indianapolis Colts team in Week 8, but they should win the rest of their games.
My prediction for the Steelers this season will be an 11-5 record and an AFC North title. This will make everyone in the organization happy, and will elevate the Steelers back to elite status in league.