Steelers predicted to go 12-4 in 2020 according to ESPN simulation
ESPN recently simulated all 269 NFL games in 2020. Here’s why Seth Walder has the Pittsburgh Steelers finishing with an encouraging 12-4 record this year.
When the NFL schedules for the 2020 season were first released, I initially had the Pittsburgh Steelers finishing 9-7 this season. However, there have been several big developments since then.
Prior to training camp, we didn’t get a chance to see how Ben Roethlisberger would look in his return to the field and whether or not he would be able to throw with the same velocity that he used to have. It’s also worth noting that the Steelers came away from training camp without any major injuries and that their 2020 draft class has been pleasantly surprising in the early going.
Recently, Seth Walder of ESPN completed a detailed simulation of all 269 NFL games this season. He has the Pittsburgh Steelers going 12-4 in 2020.
For this simulation, Walden predicts the outcome of the matchups for each week – down to the score of the game. Shockingly, he has the Steelers starting the season 6-0 before falling to the Baltimore Ravens on the road in Week 7. In order for this to happen, Pittsburgh would need to beat teams like the Giants and Titans on the road while winning home games against the Broncos, Texans, Eagles, and Browns.
While this isn’t unthinkable, Pittsburgh has been known to start the season off relatively slow under the direction of Mike Tomlin before hitting their stride mid-season.
According to Walden’s simulation, the Steelers’ four losses come against the Ravens (twice), the Bengals, and the Browns. Though it’s certainly possible they could lose a couple of these divisional games, it’s wildly optimistic to think that Pittsburgh will claim victories in every non-AFC North matchup this year.
This means that Walden has the Steelers beating teams like the Cowboys in Dallas and the Bills in Buffalo as well as taking care of business in home games against teams like the Eagles, Titans, and Colts.
At the end of the season, Walden has the Ravens owning the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Steelers in the AFC North. As a Wild-Card team, he has Pittsburgh falling to the Houston Texans in the first round of the playoffs.
What to expect from the Steelers in 2020
While earning 12 wins this year is within reason, it shouldn’t be expected. The Steelers have a quarterback that has been out of football for nearly a year returning to the field and it may show at times this season.
In addition, it’s not logical to think that the Steelers will sweep every non-divisional game this year against some solid opponents. The odds of them beating all of the Cowboys, Bills, Eagles, Titans, and Colts are slim, and they will likely drop a few of these games.
Pittsburgh could certainly outperform my initially 9-7 prediction this year, but we also have to account for the game or two they typically drop against inferior competition – often to non-common opponents. Because of this, 10-6 is a very reasonable expectation in 2020.
Walden’s 12-4 record prediction could come to fruition in 2020, but you may want to lower your expectations for now. If the Steelers do indeed find themselves in playoff position, let’s hope they can progress further than Walden has them going this year.