At 4-4 and heading into the second half of the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers still have the potential to be a major disappointment or a major success.
At the beginning of the season, I looked ahead to the 2019 campaign for the Pittsburgh Steelers and predicted a floor of 8-8 and a ceiling of 13-3. Sitting at 4-4, that ceiling is out of the picture, and the team is on its way to just barely reaching that floor.
With eight games in the books, Pittsburgh has had a roller coaster of a season to this point. So, based on everything we have seen so far, where might this team end up after its next eight games?
Based on my previous 10-6 prediction for the Steelers, there should still be four losses left on the schedule (Cleveland once, NY Jets, Arizona, and LA Rams), which would now leave the team at .500.
However, a lot has changed over the last nine weeks. The loss I predicted against the Cardinals was to be the Steelers’ annual letdown game, which could still be in the question. The Jets and Browns are well below any expectations anyone had for them, while the Bills are one of the most successful teams in the AFC, so far.
My feelings about the divisional games remain the same: split with Baltimore and Cleveland, and sweep Cincinnati. This would put the Steelers at 3-1 the rest of the way versus the AFC North.
The Rams game still seems tough, especially with LA coming off its bye week, and the potential for a letdown against the Cardinals, as mentioned, still exists. Combine that with the division games already noted, and the Steelers are 3-3 so far in the second half.
I still see the Bills game as a win for the Steelers, and I would now put the Jets game in the win column as well. It was one that was debatable before, and it certainly seems that New York has no interest in winning many football games at this point.
Now, with a second-half record of 5-3, Pittsburgh is at 9-7 overall, and the question becomes whether or not that is good enough in a weak, but tight, AFC.
I have a hard time believing the Ravens, after an impressive 6-2 start that includes a victory over the defending champion Patriots, will go 3-5 in their next eight, meaning Pittsburgh will have to turn its attention to the wild card spots.
Currently, the Steelers sit in the seventh position, behind the Colts (by one game) and the Bills (two games). Tied with Pittsburgh are the Oakland Raiders, and trailing behind are the Jacksonville Jaguars (half a game), Tennessee Titans (half-game), LA Chargers (half-game), and Denver Broncos (one game).
With wins (and tie-breakers) over the Colts and Chargers and a projected win against the Bills, Pittsburgh could very well wiggle its way into the playoffs.
There is not much room for error, but the Pittsburgh Steelers could turn a 1-4 start, now a 4-4 record, into a winning finish and a playoff spot. This team has not followed the path I originally projected, but it may find a similar finish.
Can the Steelers finish with a winning record? Will it be enough to get into the playoffs? Leave your comments and predictions below!