The Pittsburgh Steelers currently sit on a 3-2 record as they enter their Week 6 bye. Not only has Mike Tomlin's team weathered the storm in the early going, but they have jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the AFC North -- besting the Browns in Week 2 and the Ravens just before their bye week.
They might be leading their division at the moment with a leg up on the rest of the AFC North, but media outlets aren't fooled. They aren't close to buying the Steelers as a legitimate contender at this point in time... and who can blame them?
Recently, FanSided.com released its Week 6 NFL power rankings. Writer Russell S. Baxter had the Pittsburgh Steelers just 20th in his latest power rankings. As underwhelming as this ranking is, it's still a seven-spot jump from where they were to begin Week 5. After a dismal performance against the Houston Texans the week prior, Pittsburgh was just 27th in FanSided's NFL power rankings.
When you put the tape back on, it's hard to argue that the Steelers should be much higher than 20th in the power rankings. Baxter has them just ahead of teams like the Jets, Commanders, and Titans, but below teams like the Rams, Packers, and Jaguars.
These games have been hard to stomach, and have included two blowout losses against the 49ers and Texans. In their three wins so far, you could argue that only one of them (the Raiders game on Sunday Night Football) is a game that they deserved to win.
Steelers have barely been squeaking by
Against the Browns in Week 2, it took a pair of defensive touchdowns and roughly a dozen missed opportunities by the Browns to pull off a 26-22 victory. This past week against the Ravens, Pittsburgh won 17-10, but Pittsburgh had just 3 points through the first 3 quarters. It took a blocked punt for a safety and a clutch interception in the endzone from Joey Porter Jr. for the Steelers to even be in position to make a game-winning drive with under two minutes remaining.
The stats back up how poor the overall performance has been so far from Mike Tomlin's team. Currently, the Steelers are 29th in points per game, 30th in yards per game, 26th in yards per play, 29th in EPA offense, 32nd in first downs, and 30th in yards allowed, per Team Rankings. They also have an average scoring margin of -6.2 points per game.
Eventually, the Pittsburgh Steelers might earn higher positioning in the NFL power rankings. But for now -- even with their 3-2 record -- it's hard to have them as even an average NFL team considering the manner in which they have won these games. Let's hope they can make some serious changes during the bye week.