A realistic way-too-early look at Steelers playoff chances in 2024

Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Rams
Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Rams / Harry How/GettyImages

When the NFL schedule is released, most fans can't resist the urge to predict their favorite team's win-loss record for the upcoming season. Even though it's nearly impossible to forecast a season accurately on paper—thanks to injuries and countless other variables—we all find ourselves indulging in this ritual. It's part of the excitement that makes being an NFL fan so engaging.

Now, with that in mind and an open perspective, let’s dive into a realistic, way-too-early look at the Steelers' playoff chances in 2024. As we break down the schedule, consider the pivotal games that could define their season.

While surprises and setbacks are inevitable, understanding the landscape can give us a better sense of what to expect from the Steelers as they aim for a successful playoff run.

A difficult 2024 schedule will be a lot to overcome

On paper, the Steelers should be better this year based on their offseason acquisitions and draft selections. They’ve addressed key areas and added depth to their roster, but as always, other factors can completely change a season's trajectory.

Given the strength of their roster and the tough schedule, making it to the postseason will be a tall task for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Realistically, if they want to reach the playoffs, they must get off to a strong start. Before their bye week in Week 9, they face a favorable schedule with matchups against teams like the Falcons, Broncos, Chargers, Colts, Cowboys, Raiders, Jets, and Giants. These games present a crucial opportunity to build momentum early in the season.

To set themselves up for a successful campaign, aiming for a record of at least 6-2 or 5-3 by the bye week is essential. This strong start also positions them favorably in their division and playoff race as they head into the second half of the season.

After the bye, their schedule becomes significantly more challenging. They will face the Commanders, Ravens, Browns, and Bengals twice each, along with tough games against the Eagles and Chiefs.

The second half of the season will likely be a struggle, so it's crucial for them to get off to a strong start. If they stumble early on, it could ruin their playoff chances, as they will need to navigate a very tough schedule in the latter part of the season.

The magic number for this team is to finish 10-7 or 9-8 and hope that’s enough to secure a playoff spot. In a loaded AFC, every game matters, and for a team as talented as the Steelers, missing the postseason would be very disappointing.

They have the talent to compete, but they need to execute consistently and avoid injuries to make their playoff aspirations a reality.