Every week through the Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 season, I'll run a simulation on EA Sports Madden NFL 24 for the Steelers opponent for that week.
The structure of the sim is rather straightforward. I'll allow the CPU to play the game against itself to allow for a more authentic simulation. Six-minute quarters, with the weather as close to the forecast as possible. I won't pick up the controller to aid the Steelers in any way.
The simulation will run with Madden's most up-to-date rosters. I will only take out an injured player not yet recognized by Madden if they are confirmed to be out for the game.
The Steelers are in a tight spot, hosting the rival Baltimore Ravens after a horrendous loss last week. Here's how Madden NFL 24 sees the contest shaking out.
Things Only Get Uglier for Pittsburgh
On the first play from scrimmage, the Steelers failed to contain Lamar Jackson on a read option play and gave up a 79-yard untouched touchdown. The Ravens take an early first-quarter lead, 7-0.
The Steelers' first play is a Najee Harris run for zero yards. How poetic.
After a one-yard completion to George Pickens and an incomplete pass on third down, the Steelers are punting the football away. The Steelers find themselves down on the scoreboard early with momentum firmly in the Ravens' corner.
The second drive for Baltimore was a bit more methodical than the last. Things got started with a seven-yard run by Gus Edwards, but TJ Watt grabbed his first sack on the next play. On 3rd and 8, Jackson completed his first pass to the returning Odel Beckham Jr. for 23 yards to cross the 50-yard line down to the 40. After three straight runs to pick with another first down. Facing a third and five from the 10, Jackson missed on a slant route for Beckham, forcing a 27-yard field goal from Justin Tucker. The Ravens boosted their lead to 10-0.
The Steelers failed to get anything going on another drive. With three pass plays and only seven yards gained, the Steelers went three and out to close the first quarter.
The sim Steelers look true to form, replicating their real life counterparts.
After an Edwards run was stuffed, Rashod Bateman got behind Patrick Peterson down the sideline and Jackson caught him in stride. The 77-yard touchdown put this one into an ugly situation early, Ravens leading 17-0.
Harris burst forward for 13 yards to start the next drive, giving the Steelers their first first down of the game. He followed up with a 10-yard run on the very next play. The Steelers saw Harris produce and opted to feed him again to set up a second and manageable. Unfortunately, after crossing the 50, they stopped giving the ball to Harris and Roquan Smith forced two incompletions over the middle and eventually another Steelers punt.
Backed up inside the 10, the Ravens chose to run on the first two plays and Cole Holcomb swallowed them both up. On third down, Jackson launched another pass deep for Bateman, but Peterson was able to knock that one away. The Ravens were forced to punt for the first time in the game.
On the Steelers' next drive, Darnell Washington got things going on second down, catching a short pass over the middle and rumbling forward for a first down. Across the 50 yet again, the two-minute warning hits in the first half.
Kenny Pickett started to heat up a bit, hitting Allen Robinson II on a seam route for a first down, but two plays later he missed wide on a curl route for Pickens and put the ball right in the hands of Marlon Humphrey. The first turnover of the day keeps all of the momentum on the Ravens' side of the ball.
Jackson got 1:22 to work with from inside his own 20. Just three plays later, all completed passes, the Ravens are near the 50-yard line and Tucker field goal range before using their first time out.
Two plays later, Jackson had his first miscue as he missed Bateman on a comeback route and instead found Peterson who snagged the interception.
From their own 44, the Steelers were aggressive. After a 17-yard completion to Robinson on the sideline and a seven-yard pass to Washington, the Steelers sent out Chris Boswell to end the half with points. Boswell sank the 50-yarder with the halftime score of 17-3.