The Steelers were recently informed that they lost all five preseason games this summer. Here’s why the start of the 2020 season could be sloppy for Pittsburgh.
For those thinking that the preseason doesn’t matter, we will soon find out how much truth that really holds. But I have a feeling we are really going to be disappointed by the play of the Pittsburgh Steelers early in the regular season.
Even when the Steelers have had a full preseason schedule, their team has still struggled early on in the regular sesaon. Since 2017, Mike Tomlin has a record of 6-8-1 in from Weeks 1-5, according to Pro Football Reference. While the middle stretch of games always runs much smoother, Pittsburgh can’t afford a worse start than the ones they have been seeing recently.
Before the Steelers get into a mid-season rhythm, their game is as sloppy as any team in the league. Even with Ben Roethlisberger leading the charge in Week one last season, the Steelers fell to the Patriots in blowout fashion with a final score of 33-3.
Though starters typically don’t play a lot in the preseason anyway, getting on the field for 3-4 quarters of action throughout August is better than seeing no time at all. The only advantage Pittsburgh has going for them here is that all other NFL teams will also be without the preseason.
Remarkably, the Steelers are 14-1 over the past three years in Weeks 6-11, and they are easily one of the best mid-season teams in the league. But what will ‘mid-season’ look like for Pittsburgh this year? Without a preseason, will ‘mid-season’ not come until late in the season?
The recent cancellation of preseason throws a big curveball when it comes to studying recent trends, and it’s hard to say exactly how it will affect the Steelers. Apart from the game-and-a-half he played last year, Ben Roethlisberger has been out of commission since the 2018 season. Being thrust into a regular sesaon game and likely being forced to throw the ball early and often, it’s hard to say exactly how his elbow will hold up without a lot of practice under his belt in 2020.
Roethlisberger typically has a hard enough time catching a rhythm early in the regular season as it is. Now missing nearly a year of football and without a single preseason game this summer, he could really struggle in the early going.
This could have devastating effects on the Steelers in 2019. If they show up ill-prepared against the Giants, Broncos, or Texans to start the season, they could drop some games that they are supposed to win – games that could no doubt shift the race in the AFC.
Without a preseason this year, oddsmakers are going to have very difficult jobs early in the NFL season. We still don’t know how this will affect the Steelers, but considering their history of slow starts, we can expect some very sloppy play from Pittsburgh to start the 2020 season.