The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season has taken many unexpected turns through the first six weeks. As the team enters the bye week at 2-4, what is the outlook for this group the rest of the way?
The Steelers have been underwhelming, to say the least. With a record of 2-4, Pittsburgh sits two games behind the division-leading Baltimore Ravens and tied for second with the also underwhelming Cleveland Browns. Week Seven will provide the Steelers with much-needed rest, and, hopefully, an opportunity to become healthier. It also gives us a chance to assess the first six games, and look ahead to the next ten.
Certainly, Steelers fans had higher hopes for where the team would stand at this point. Close, heartbreaking losses to the Seahawks, 49ers, and Ravens, as well as one ugly loss in New England and a plethora of injuries, have set Pittsburgh back significantly.
With that being said, there have also been bright spots. The defense looks like it can slow down any offense that comes its way, while every quarterback that has been called upon appears capable of getting the job done.
I still have my complaints about the play calling, but Pittsburgh appears to be experimenting with some new options, which is enough to contain my next Randy Fichtner rant (for now).
On the other side of the bye week, the Steelers will host the Dolphins, Colts, and Rams, before going on the road to play the Browns. None of those games seem out of reach, as those four teams have a combined win-loss record of 8-14.
Given the play of the defense, the favorable schedule, and the chance to get players healthy, my outlook for the Steelers is cautiously optimistic.
This is a team that has not gotten many breaks, whether it be close games that go wrong or key players that go down with injuries. However, if the defense continues to give offenses nightmares, and the offense can find some kind of rhythm, the Steelers could make some noise. Oh, and that schedule that I said was favorable in the first month following the bye, later includes the Bengals, Cardinals, and Jets (although New York now has Sam Darnold back). The bottom line is that if the Steelers can tread water, which the win over the Chargers helps them do, they might be in line to strike in the second half of the season.
Also, it should be mentioned that the AFC North is not the same AFC North right now that we are accustomed to seeing. In fact, I still believe it will be the Browns and the Steelers at the top by season’s end.
There have been plenty of disappointments in the last month and a half, so I don’t want to get hopes too high, but this team still has a chance. Move forward optimistically, Steelers fans, but do so carefully.
Do you think the Steelers can make a run at the playoffs, or is 2-4 too big of a hole? Leave your comments below!