clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Analyzing the Steelers’ 2018 opponents and their 2017 offensive and defensive rankings

New, comments

How does the Steelers’ competition stack up this season?

Divisional Round - Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The 2017 offensive and defensive rankings of the Pittsburgh Steelers' opponents is not an accurate barometer of how 2018 will play out — but it's a starting point to gauge future success based on past performances.

Generally speaking, there are not vast turnovers on NFL rosters, nor additions of players via free agency, or via the NFL draft, that can make enough of a splash to single-handedly raise a team from the depths of the cellar to the top of the charts.

On the flip-side (my favorite side), there are players who may be purged, retire or depart for greener pastures — developments which may impact a team's future success.

A couple of interesting aspects from the chart below.

  • Pittsburgh will face the top-ranked team in six of the ten categories.
  • Pittsburgh will face the bottom-ranked team in five of the ten categories.

2017 Rankings

Team Type Total points Total yards Turvovers Passing yards Rushing yards
Team Type Total points Total yards Turvovers Passing yards Rushing yards
Cleveland Browns Defensive 31 14 32 19 7
Week 1 and 8 Offensive 32 24 32 23 18
Kansas City Chiefs Defensive 15 28 7* 29 25
Week 2 Offensive 6 5 1 7 9
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defensive 24 32 7* 32 23
Week 3 Offensive 18 9 26* 4 27
Baltimore Ravens Defensive 6 12 1 10 15
Week 4 and 9 Offensive 9 27 7* 29 11
Atlanta Falcons Defensive 8 9 27* 12 9
Week 5 Offensive 15 8 9* 8 13
Cincinnati Bengals Defensive 16 18 30* 8 30
Week 6 and 17 Offensive 26 32 19* 27 31
Carolina Panthers Defensive 11 7 16* 18 3
Week 10 Offensive 12 19 14* 28 4
Jacksonville Jaguars Defensive 2 2 2 1 21
Week 11 Offensive 5 6 19* 17 1
Denver Broncos Defensive 22 3 26 4 5
Week 12 Offensive 27 18 31 20 12
San Diego Chargers Defensive 3 15 6 3 31
Week 13 Offensive 13 4 4* 1 24
Oakland Raiders Defensive 20 23 30* 26 12
Week 14 Offensive 23 17 28* 16 25
New England Patriots Defensive 5 29 25 30 20
Week 15 Offensive 2 1 2 2 10
New Orlean Saints Defensive 10 17 9* 15 16
Week 16 Offensive 4 2 5 5 5
All rankings provided by Pro Football Reference

Steelers fans have high expectations for their beloved team heading into the 2018 season. On paper, Pittsburgh has the eighth easiest schedule (from the table above), but fans will notice that strength-of-schedule doesn't tell the whole story. Pitfalls await the Black-and-gold around every corner, with most opponents having either a strong defense, a strong offense or, in some cases, both.

Did opponents build upon their strengths and shore-up their weaknesses to rise in the 2018 rankings? Or were holes generated that will see an opponent plunge in the future rankings? The answer to those questions will not be known until the final whistle blows wrapping up the Week 17 games.