After a disheartening loss against the Dolphins, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in danger of hitting rock bottom on the NFL power rankings.
I’ve got to be honest: I didn’t see things getting quite this bad for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2022. We know that this team outperformed their 9-7-1 record from a season ago, based on nearly every metric, but I thought they would finish just outside of the playoff hunt this year.
So far, that’s not remotely the case. During their first seven games of the 2022 season, Pittsburgh has looked like a bottom-tier team in the NFL. Their defense has performed well enough over the past two-game stretch against the Dolphins and Buccaneers, but their offense is nowhere near where it needs to be in order to be a competitive football team.
In fact, with each week that passes, the Steelers fall a bit closer to rock bottom. Entering Week 8 of the 2022 season, the Steelers rank 31st in points per game, 30th in yards per game, and 32nd in yards per play, according to Team Rankings.
Their most recent abysmal offensive performance against Miami on Sunday Night Football has caused them to slide even further in NFL power rankings. The NFL Nation reporters at ESPN have determined that the Steelers currently slot in as the 29th-best team in the league at the moment. This dropped another four spots in just a week when they were considered the 25th-best team after an upset win over the Buccaneers. Only the Panthers, Lions, and Texans are worse right now.
How can the Steelers improve their status?
At this point, it’s hard to argue that the NFL power rankings have it all wrong. The offensive struggles for Pittsburgh are as clear as daylight, and they seem to be trending in the wrong direction. So how can they turn this sinking ship around?
Defensively, it stands to reason that this could be a pretty solid squad down the stretch. T.J. Watt is on track to return from a pectoral injury and knee surgery following the Week 9 bye, and the reigning Defensive Player of the Year will no doubt give them a boost. However, for real change to occur, Mike Tomlin is going to have to find a way to jumpstart his offense.
The Steelers head coach made the decision during halftime of Week 4 against the Jets to move forward with QB Kenny Pickett. So far, this hasn’t worked according to plan and the rookie quarterback has thrown 7 interceptions in his first four games. Offensive coordinator, Matt Canada, certainly doesn’t seem to be aiding in his development, as the game plan is both scripted and predictable — lacking the potential for explosive plays all around.
If Pickett can overcome this and take a massive step forward, the Steelers could slowly creep back up in the NFL power rankings. However, they certainly don’t deserve to move up the list until they prove that they can put up 20 points per game — and do so consistently.
The Steelers have a very long way to go when it comes to improving this team, and this is both a coaching and a talent issue. Sadly, there’s no guarantee that they get things back on track in 2022.