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ESPN the Magazine picks Steelers to go 9-7, miss playoffs

In the most recent edition of ESPN the Magazine, the Pittsburgh Steelers were picked to go 9-7, splitting each of their divisional series.

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If you go an pickup a copy of the latest edition of ESPN the Magazine, you'll find their full NFL season preview, with predictions and all.  Their breakdown of the 2013 season was pretty extensive and included insights from resources such as: Football OutsidersPro-Football Reference, ESPN analyst KC Joyner and Pro Football Focus.

It resulted in a full season breakdown to place the Steelers 3rd in the AFC North behind the Bengals and Ravens. They gave game-by-game scores which led to the Steelers being 9-7, each of which are listed below.

September 8, 2013

vs. Tennessee Titans, 41-34, W

September 16, 2013

@ Cincinnati Bengals, 38-17, L

September 22, 2013

vs. Chicago Bears, 31-24, W

September 29, 2013

@ Minnesota Vikings, 20-3, L

October 13, 2013

@ New York Jets, 20-17, W

October 20, 2013

vs. Baltimore Ravens, 30-20, W

October 27, 2013

@ Oakland Raiders, 13-6, W

November 3, 2013

@ New England Patriots, 34-14, L

November 10, 2013

vs. Buffalo Bills, 10-3, W

November 17, 2013

vs. Detroit Lions, 27-13, W

November 24, 2013

@ Cleveland Browns, 34-24, L

November 28, 2013

@ Baltimore Ravens, 28-0, L

December 8, 2013

vs. Miami Dolphins, 24-22, L

December 15, 2013

vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 19-13, W

December 22, 2013

@ Green Bay Packers, 52-37, L

December 29, 2013

vs. Cleveland Browns, 31-6, W

The assessment gives the Steelers a 33.2 percent chance of making the playoffs this year, with their most essential player not at the quarterback position being center Maurkice Pouncey. Using Pro-Football Reference, Pouncey was determined to have an average approximate value rating of 11.8, compared to the average NFL lineman's rating of 7.4. The rating is determined by observing games started, Pro Bowls, All-Pro teams, and other statistics to create a measurable statistic to rank each player. (To understand how this statistic is evaluated, click here for a full rundown.)

Football Outsider's contribution predicted the Steelers' offense to be ranked 19th, and their defense to be ranked second in the league.

KC Joyner used a statistic labeled, "bad decision rate" in order to determine how quarterbacks were performing within their system. From all of the passes thrown in a year, if a quarterback through a dangerous pass that could be labeled as a mental error that ave a turnover opportunity for the defense, this was determined to be a bad decision considered by the rating. If 3.5 percent of a quarterback's passes were considered bad decisions, a quarterback will be given a "terrible" rating; while a quarterback with less than 1.5 percent of their passes being bad decisions, is awarded an "elite" rating. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's 2012 percentage was 2.4, which was just above average and the best in the division.

Take what you will about their breakdown of the Steelers by the magazine. I have the Steelers at a better record an in the playoffs. ESPN also has the Steelers being shutout for the first time since 2006 (ironically it was the Ravens, and before that, Jacksonville in the same year) against Baltimore on Thanksgiving.

But like every preseason prediction, this has no impact of what will actually happen on the field.  The Steelers know  they are not being looked at as a contender this year by many analysts, nothing new. They know the season will be determined by their pads, not by sophisticated simulations and computations. I'll be excited to see a lot of 5-star matchups this season when I sit down to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers play.

Pickup the newest edition of the magazine to see who ESPN the Magazine has picked to make the playoffs, and ultimately win the Super Bowl.

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