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Playing the Colts, games with narrow spreads, and quality of opponents

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The Steelers will be facing the same Colt’s quarterback for the first time in more than a decade

NFL: OCT 28 Dolphins at Steelers Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Maybe it’s because there’s too many numbers, or maybe it’s because there’s not enough. Whichever the reason, this weeks installment of Crunching the Numbers jumps all over the place to talk about the various issues with the Steelers heading into Week 9. Whether it be the records of the Steelers opponents so far, how the Steelers have fared against the Colts, or tackling the issue of a very narrow point spread, these topics still weren’t enough to hold all the numbers which need discussed. So let’s dive right in and see how things look.


The Steelers have three wins in 2019. Of those three wins, those opponents have combined for three wins. The Steelers have defeated the 0-7 Dolphins, 0-8 Bengals, and the 3-5 Chargers. The combined record of the teams the Steelers have defeated in 2019 is 3-20 entering Week 9.


While the teams the Steelers have defeated in 2019 do not have many combined wins, the teams which they have lost to do not have many losses. Of the four losses on the season for the Steelers, those teams have only come up short in a total of four games. Both the Patriots and 49ers are undefeated entering Week 9 while the Ravens and Seahawks are 5-2 and 6-2 respectively. So the teams the Steelers have fallen to in 2019 have a combined record of 26-4.


Since Mike Tomlin took over as the head coach of the Steelers in 2007, they have faced the Indianapolis Colts six times. In those games, the Steelers are 5-1. They currently have a five-game win streak as the only time they were defeated was at Heinz Field in 2008.


In the six games the Steelers faced the Colts since 2007, Indianapolis has started six different quarterbacks in those games. The only loss the Steelers had was to Peyton Manning (2008). Since then, the starting quarterbacks the Steelers have faced playing the Colts were Kerry Collins (2011), Andrew Luck (2014), Matt Hasselbeck (2015), Scott Tolzien (2016), and Jacoby Brissett (2017). Another quarterback who played significantly was Curtis Painter in 2011 who came in for an injured Kerry Collins.


The Steelers’ point spread for Sunday’s game has flip-flopped several times from a one point favorites to one point underdog. In games under Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have played six games in which the point spread was one point or under either in their favor or as underdogs. The Steelers are 4-2 in these games. Only one of the games was at home which was a loss to Cincinnati in 2015. In this game the 7-0 Bengals came into Heinz Field and won 16-10 when Ben Roethlisberger threw interceptions on back-to-back passes in the fourth quarter, which went from a Steelers lead to ending their hopes for a win.


On a different note, I must continue to rant about the Steelers ineptitude in the first drive of every game of the season. With the Steelers losing yardage and turning the ball over in Week 8, the Steelers still only have two first downs on opening drives on the season. If looking at only the past six games, the Steelers have no first downs and only a total of 6 yards. Obviously, this averages to exactly one yard per game on the Steelers opening drive.

So here are some random numbers from various things heading into the Steelers Week 9 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. Can the Steelers finally get something together offensively to start the game on Sunday? Can they continue their winning streak against the Colts? Please leave your answers in the comments below!