Pittsburgh Steelers: Most likely to make playoffs after 2019 absence?


The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t made the AFC playoffs in two seasons. What are the chances they make it back into them in 2020 after a two-year absence?

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It’s been a frustrating last few years for the Pittsburgh Steelers. 2018 was the team’s first year without Le’Veon Bell and the last year of Antonio Brown’s nonsense. 2019 was expected to be a better season, but seeing Ben Roethlisberger succumb to a season-ending elbow injury wasn’t great. Will 2020 be the year the Steelers get back to the AFC playoffs? Or will they keep waiting?

On this week’s episode of Stacking the Box, FanSided‘s Matt Verderame and Mark Carman, along with former NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, look at teams who could make a leap like the San Francisco 49ers, going from bad to Super Bowl contender. Not to say the Steelers were a bad team, but Schwartz does think 2020 could be a playoff season for Pittsburgh (29:52).

“I’ll give you one more: Pittsburgh,” said Schwartz. “Big Ben is coming back. He just needs to be average. The defense is fine. The run game is good, the offensive line. Give me Pittsburgh.” Obviously, there is a lot to like about the Steelers heading into next season. The defense reminds us of some of the better teams we’ve seen under Mike Tomlin and Bill Cowher before that.

As for Roethlisberger, this is the biggest question mark regarding this team. How much does he have left in the tank? Of his 2004 first-round quarterbacking brethren, Eli Manning has opted to hang up the spikes instead of playing for another team besides the New York Giants. Philip Rivers wants to keep playing, but it will not be with the Los Angeles Chargers. He fell off a cliff in 2019.

As Schwartz said, as long as Roethlisberger gives the Steelers league-average quarterback play, then Pittsburgh is not only a playoff team in the AFC but can win the AFC North. We should expect the Baltimore Ravens to regress from 14-2 in 2020. Do we really trust the Cleveland Browns to get themselves right? What about the Cincinnati Bengals with Joe Burrow? Let’s pump the brakes.

Overall, Pittsburgh was just on the outside looking in at the No. 6 seed that ultimately went to the Tennessee Titans in 2019. If the Steelers don’t have to perpetually bail water at the quarterback position in 2020, then they have a terrific chance of getting back to the AFC playoffs for the first time in three years. This is a well-constructed football team that plays complementary football.

Here are a few other topics discussed on this week’s episode of Stacking the Box:

  • Chiefs win or Niners lose? (19:49)
  • Schwartz breaks down 3rd and 15 (23:29)
  • Which playoff teams will miss in 2020? (28:16)

All this and more!

Next. Pittsburgh Steelers: 15 best running backs in franchise history. dark

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