Big media outlet predicts Steelers to have their worst record since 2003
By Tommy Jaggi
The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t had a losing record since before Ben Roethlisberger, but here’s why one major media outlet thinks that will happen in 2021.
The Steelers have been called many things by major media and football analysts: underperformers, disappointments, and underachievers – just to name a few. I can understand this to an extent, as the Steelers have fallen short during crunch time in the playoffs (or failed to make the playoffs altogether) over the past four seasons. However, one name they are rarely called by professionals in the business are ‘losers.’
That seemed to change this week. The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t had a losing record since 2003 – before Ben Roethlisberger was even drafted. However, the losing-record predictions started rolling in this offseason. The most recent to come out is the most disheartening record prediction I have seen by a major media outlet so far.
Recently, USA Today took the liberty of predicting the records of all 32 teams. They had the Steelers at 7-10 this year.
Even with the extra game in the NFL’s new 17-game schedule, seeing double-digit loss predictions for the Steelers doesn’t leave a good taste in my mouth. Though USA Today and a few other prominent media outlets have been extremely low on the Steelers, there is reason for hope this year.
Why Steelers will outperform expectations
For starters, oddsmakers seem to be higher on the Steelers than NFL analysts. Currently, Pittsburgh’s over/under win total is projected at 8.5, courtesy of WynnBET. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, it looks significantly better than 7. It’s also important to remember that gambling odds are a business and they are in it to make money. If everyone is talking the Steelers down and betting accordingly, they are going to shift their odds that way in an effort to not lose money.
Though the Steelers lost a number of talented players and veteran leaders this past offseason, there’s no guarantee that this will make them a worse football team overall. Personally, I think they did a pretty good job filling some major voids.
Though I wasn’t a big fan of taking a running back in the first round, Najee Harris should be a big step up from James Conner. Likewise, it won’t be hard for Pat Freiermuth to be an improvement over the recently retired Vance McDonald. In addition, the projected starting offensive line got a combined 19 years younger in just one season, and don’t underestimate the value of a good offensive coordinator and a fiery new offensive line coach.
Defensively, losing a pair of quality cornerbacks in Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton stings a little bit, and the team is hoping to get quality production out of a few of the young guys behind them. Pittsburgh also lost Bud Dupree, but I thought that Melvin Ingram was a great depth signing who could really give their edge defenders a boost.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that this was still a very competent football team prior to their final 6 games in 2020. If they can return to form with a potentially fresher Ben Roethlisberger in 2021, they could outperform expectations this year. For other Steelers odds, be sure to check out BetSided.com.