clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

For Steelers’ fans, looking ahead is tempting but the wrong move

Surprisingly, with a 2-4 record the Steelers are still very much in the hunt of the AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

It’s so tempting. I want to do it so badly. But I know as soon as I start to get ahead of myself, something will happen to remind me why I shouldn’t do such things.

I can’t start looking ahead as to how the Steelers season will play out.

Moving up to second place in the AFC North with a 2-4 record, the Steelers are right in the mix of the division battle. With the Ravens traveling to Seattle this week while the Steelers are on bye, it makes sense to pay attention to that game to see what could happen and how much it would affect the Steelers. That’s fine. Looking to this week is never a problem. But should we be looking even further out?

It’s easy to note that six of the next seven opponents the Ravens face are .500 or better. If you were to throw out the game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10, the only opponents Baltimore faces that have more than a single loss is the 4-2 Houston Texans in Baltimore and the 3-3 Los Angeles Rams in L.A. the following week. The Ravens have to face the Seahawks, Patriots, 49ers, and Bills in this tough middle stretch of their season. Finishing their 2019 season in Cleveland and then home against the Steelers, the only other game in between is a Thursday night show down against the New York Jets.

But I’m not going to look ahead.

If I were going to look ahead to the Cleveland Browns schedule, I would first notice they have to travel to New England coming off their bye week this week. Other than that, their schedule looks a lot like the Steelers and they actually face off against Pittsburgh two more times.

But I’m not going to look ahead to that one either.

The most important schedule for the Pittsburgh Steelers have to worry about is their own. Yes, they are going to need some help along the way if there really going to get back into the swing of things. But that is beyond their control so why even worry about it now?

As the Steelers take the week off to try and get healthier and reload for the second half of the season, they have their next three games at home against the Dolphins, Colts, and Rams. Although there are several teams ahead which could create problems, the Steelers definitely have their most difficult challenges behind them as they’ve already faced off with the only two unbeaten teams remaining in the NFL along with a very strong Seattle Seahawks team.

But I’m not looking ahead for the Steelers either.

The Steelers have one job to do: win their next game. If they can manage to defeat the Dolphins on Monday Night Football the last week of October, the Steelers will be a little bit closer to everything.

Once that happens, the Steelers have one job and one job only: win their next game.

If the Steelers can manage to get back to .500 after the first week of November, things could be just fine moving forward. But then after that, they only have one task to worry about: win their next game.

I think you’re picking up on a trend here. Bottom line is, it’s easy to look ahead and see the Steelers options moving forward. There’s a good chance Baltimore could come back to them with their difficult schedule. The Steelers can control their own destiny against the Browns because they still have to play them twice. But those games don’t even begin until a month from now. And a lot of things can change in a month.

I know I basically looked ahead by saying I’m not looking ahead. It already got me once, so I can’t afford to do it again.

When the Steelers faced off against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5, I caught myself looking ahead at the AFC North and how the race would completely change if the Steelers could get a victory. And while it appears they outplayed the Ravens in some aspects, the final score was not in their favor. I set myself up so much for how things would be if the Steelers won, all of it came crashing down when they didn’t.

The point of the story is this: the more I worry about the division, the more things don’t play out to get to the point I’m worried about. I would like nothing more than the Week 17 game in Baltimore to be for the division. But so much could change along the way, including with the Steelers, it may not be a game of any significance. While I can hope the season plays out as such, focusing on that goal could drive one insane.

Yes, it’s the bye week. Yes, it’s easy to look forward and say what teams need to do from this point on. But the Steelers team should not be worried about anything other than the very next opponent. Because if the Steelers drop any of their upcoming games, then none of this will matter. Staying singularly focused is all they can do.

It seems crazy that a team who just came off their second win of the season in their sixth game could even consider talking about crazy things like the playoffs, divisional championships, or even a winning season. But the Steelers are where they are in a weak division, so they are definitely not out of the running.

What could knock the Steelers out of the running all of a sudden? A loss to a team they could/should have defeated. The Steelers have had enough of those games in 2019. One more is not something they can afford.

I know this is what we do as Steelers’ fans. We have been blessed with a great franchise where not being in the thick of things is a rarity. So looking at how things play out is something we have been trained to do. But with the start this team had in 2019, we need to do our best to not to look ahead.

So I’m not going to look ahead anymore.

At least for now...