Steelers nearing the bottom of league in numerous NFL power rankings

Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Steelers are falling fast in updated NFL power rankings. Here’s why the criticism of this team is justified. 

After the Steelers upset the Buffalo Bills on the road in Week 1 of the 2021 season, NFL analysts and major media sites were irrationally high on Pittsburgh. Some had them as high as the number four team in NFL power rankings after the first week of the season… but we knew better.

The offensive struggles are real, folks, and they aren’t going away anytime soon. Ben Roethlisberger looks dismal through the first four games of the year, and it’s hard to envision things getting much better in the coming weeks.

After losing three straight games — two of which were home contests in which Pittsburgh was favored — NFL analysts don’t have high hopes for this team. According to updated NFL power rankings ahead of Week 5, several media outlets have the Steelers nearing the bottom of the league.

One of which was NBC Sports, which had the Steelers ranked as just the 24th best team in the league. Here’s what NBC’s Josh Schrock had to say:

"24. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3): Two months from now, there won’t be a more confusing outcome than the Steelers beating the Bills in Week 1. Big Ben is more cooked than a well-done steak. Not even the great Mike Tomlin can get this Steelers team to the playoffs."

Pro Football Network was even lower on the Pittsburgh Steelers after their third straight loss. They had Mike Tomlin’s team just 27th in the NFL. PFN’s Dalton Miller didn’t exactly have kind words for this football team after another abysmal offensive performance:

"27) Pittsburgh SteelersThis is a bad football team. They’re constructed poorly on offense and made suboptimal decisions in the offseason. Now, they’re reaping what they’ve sowed. Pittsburgh’s offensive line is in shambles, and they lost key members in their secondary to free agency.This franchise has been blessed with never-wavering consistency throughout its entire existence. 2021 will be the first season in Mike Tomlin’s career that he’s lost more games than he’s won.It’s over. This is the end of an era — and not having the future quarterback on the roster or on the NFL Draft horizon is a scary proposition. Big Ben is cooked, but it’s difficult to see a scenario where they bench him, given his status in the organization and the lack of talent behind him."

Can the Steelers improve in NFL power rankings?

Just because they are off to an atrocious start doesn’t mean the Steelers can’t break this narrative and become a respectable team this season. They can improve in NFL power rankings in the coming weeks, but it’s going to take some convincing.

Though their defense has been banged up, they certainly haven’t been the dominant squad we have come to know since T.J. Watt came to town. As of now, Pittsburgh ranks just 16th in yards allowed per game (357.8) and 13th in points allowed (23.2), according to Team Rankings.

Offensively, this unit has been nothing short of a nightmare for fans this season, as a washed-up Ben Roethlisberger leads the Steelers to just 27th in yards per game (301.8) and 28th in points per game 16.8 — a number that would be just 15.0 PPG if only counting offensive scoring.

Righting the wrongs starts with earning a home win against the Denver Broncos this coming weekend. Falling to 1-4 on the season would give analysts all the fuel they need to plummet Pittsburgh even further in the rankings.

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At the end of the day, NFL power rankings are subjective, but it’s hard to argue that the Steelers should be much higher than where experts have slated them after Week 4 of the 2021 season. As fans, we hope for much better results from here on out.