The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to atone for their disastrous ending to their 2018 season. The line for Steelers wins in 2019 is 9.5 as of late August. Can they exceed this win total? Let’s take a look at the Steelers schedule and see how they might get there.
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Week 1: @ Patriots
The Patriots are the reigning Super Bowl champs, in case you forgot. It’s probably time we all stop expecting them to fall off the throne, Brady and Belichek to retire, and the Gillette Stadium to suddenly become an easy place to play. None of that will be happening in 2019 because a lot of people sold their souls to the football gods many years ago to ensure Patriot dominance. That being said, a road game without Antonio Brown in a hostile environment probably isn’t going to go very well for the Steelers’ bounce-back chances in 2019. Patriots 30 Steelers 16.
Week 2: Seahawks
This is the kind of home opener the Steelers need. For one thing, the Steelers have a solid rushing defense and the Seahawks may again be among the league leaders in rushing attempts. Last season, the Steelers ranked #6 in rushing defense. Russel Wilson will find ways to make plays as he always does, but the Steelers are too solid on offense to struggle the same way the Seahawks will struggle on offense. The home-field advantage should be too much for the Seahawks to overcome. I think they’ll keep it close, but ultimately, the Steelers will pull it out. Steelers 31 Seahawks 24
Week 3: @ 49ers
The 49ers have been the hype team of the past year. Injuries killed their hopes of going far, as they used a patchwork of skill position players to salvage a few games in what was, ultimately a disaster of a season. As far as 2019 is concerned, the 49ers will have most of their offensive weapons available for this game, minus McKinnon. Even with their offense returning, the 49ers have been terrible on the other side of the ball. The 49ers will find ways to score here, but I don’t believe they’ll be able to stop the Steelers when it matters. Steelers 30 49ers 27
Week 4: Bengals
The Bengals aren’t a good team. They aren’t void of talent, but they just can’t put it together, consistently. There were a few games the Bengals came together and surprised the NFL. Alas, that is why the saying goes, “On any given Sunday”. The Bengals have one of the worst offensive lines in football. Their passing defense is terrible. This is an incredibly bad matchup for the Bengals and there’s a good chance AJ Green won’t be back. The Steelers should cruise. Steelers 31 Bengals 16
Week 5: Ravens
The first big divisional showdown of the season will be a defensive struggle. In the 2018 playoffs, the Chargers countered the Ravens dynamic rushing attack by putting nine men up front and run blitzing the Ravens into frustration and subsequently snuffing out their playoff hopes. The Ravens will struggle to break the Steelers rush defense, especially with the addition of Devin Bush in the draft and the hybrid linebacker/safety, Mark Barron. This will be a grind, with neither team trying to make a big mistake. Steelers 19 Ravens 16
Week 6: @ Chargers
The Chargers have more holes in their offensive line than anyone cares to talk about. Their success was due largely in part to stellar play from Philip Rivers and a solid defense. Pro Football Focus has the Chargers offensive line ranked 29th headed into 2019. If Russel Okung isn’t healthy in time for this game, the Steelers defensive line may just rule the day. I think the Steelers will avenge their 2018 collapse at home. Steelers 23 Chargers 20
Week 8: Dolphins
The Dolphins are the current favorite to finish dead last. That being said, their offensive line is terrible. Their defense isn’t very good. They are one of the least potent teams in the league. I think the Steelers will absolutely cruise in this matchup. Steelers 38 Dolphins 6
Week 9: Colts
The Colts went from everyone’s favorite dark horse to everyone’s “kid with lice” in less than a week’s time. There’s a reason quarterbacks make all the money. Zeke’s holdout may cost the Cowboys a half a game in their projected over/under for wins, but Luck retiring knocked the Colts down by around three wins. I think the Colts still have a great defense and a solid offensive line, so the pieces are there. The Steelers will have a more complete identity and team, so I think they win this defensive struggle. Steelers 20 Colts 16
Week 10: Rams
The Rams were exposed in the Super Bowl by the greatest coach of all time. That’s really nothing to be concerned about coming into 2019. Sean McVay will adjust going into 2019 and tweak the offense. The issue in this game with the Steelers will be slowing down the Rams high-powered offense and consistently exploiting their defense. Being a road game for the Steelers, I feel more confident in the Rams and their proven system at home. Rams 26 Steelers 24
Week 11: @ Browns
This will be a big test for both teams. The Browns have flashy weapons and a very dangerous quarterback. If they can hold up on defense and demonstrate consistency on both sides of the ball, this team could go very far in the postseason. For this matchup, I think the Browns will keep the Steelers off guard on defense. They have a lot of weapons and will be able to exploit various one on one matchups. It’ll be too much for Pittsburgh to overcome. Browns 27 Steelers 23
Week 12: @ Bengals
The Steelers will be motivated to get back on track after losing two tight road games in consecutive weeks. The Steelers should cruise to a comfortable road victory and set their sights on a playoff berth. Steelers 30 Bengals 18
Week 13: Browns
The revenge game narrative will occupy the bulletin board and get into everyone’s heads. It will be an emotionally charged game that will test the mettle of both teams. I think it’s going to be too close to call, but I’ve got to go with the Browns, simply from the Steelers history of slipping up late in the season. The Browns were out of the playoff race most of last season and still found ways to be competitive and pull out wins when they felt like it. Browns 31 Steelers 30
Week 14: @ Cardinals
The Steelers should take out their frustrations in this game on an inept, young Cardinals squad. I expect the Cardinals to get a few late garbage time scores but the Steelers should be way too much for the Cardinals here. Steelers 38 Cardinals 24
Week 15: Bills
Every year, teams will slip up and have a game they don’t take too seriously. This year, it seems like a late-season home game against a talented defense with Buffalo might be the right cocktail for a disaster of a game. Bills 16 Steelers 13
Week 16: @ Jets
With a spot in the playoffs on the line, I fully expect the Steelers to dominate the Jets in the trenches, on both sides of the ball. Road games are always tough, so I believe the Jets will hang in there, but the Steelers have too much control at the line to let this one slip away. Steelers 24 Jets 17
Week 17: @ Ravens
It may decide the division. If the Ravens want to get into the playoffs, it might be a backs against the wall scenario for them. The Ravens/Steelers rivalry has been one of the best in the NFL over the course of the past 20 years. I think the Ravens will level the score for the season in this one and leave the division up to a three-way tie. Ravens 23 Steelers 17
A Prediction: Steelers with at least 10 wins
I think the Steelers will hit the 10 win mark, but there’s also plenty of room for more wins. If this team gets a little more dangerous on defense with forcing turnovers, the sky it the limit. As it stands, developmentally, I think they’re safe for 9-12 wins.
Collin is a former Army Intelligence and Logistics officer who will watch any sport and gamble with anyone willing. He currently resides in Texas and has to deal with Cowboys fans all the time.