In a vacuum, 30 point losses don’t mean a whole heck of a lot in the NFL. In Week 3 of the 2016 season, for example, the Steelers were blown out in Philadelphia, 34-3, before turning around seven days later and blitzing the Chiefs, 43-14, on Sunday Night Football. Were those results an accurate barometer of how each team’s season would go?
The Eagles went on to miss the playoffs with a 7-9 record, while the Chiefs and Steelers managed to keep it together long enough for a rematch in the divisional round of the playoffs, months later, with the latter advancing to the AFC title game.
No, in and of itself, getting your doors blown off at Gillette Stadium is nothing to be a shamed of (even if it is a fate suffered by your Pittsburgh Steelers every single time they travel there).
What is alarming, however, is the Steelers overall quality of play, dating back to last November. In fact, the last time Pittsburgh even resembled a postseason contender was during a Thursday night affair against the Panthers at Heinz Field.
The Steelers prevailed that night, 52-21, and looked about as dominant as they had in a few years.
Then, the mediocrity kicked in, as Pittsburgh squeaked by a blah Jaguars team the following week before losing four of its final six games en route to missing the postseason for the first time since 2014.
Thankfully, like those Panthers, the Seahawk is a creature whose natural habitat is the National Football Conference.
Fortunately for the Steelers, they seem to enjoy feasting on NFC opponents at home, and with the Seahawks coming to town this Sunday afternoon for a 1 p.m. affair, what better time to get right?
Pittsburgh has a 7-3 home record against NFC foes, dating back to the 2014 season, with the last loss occurring on November 13, 2016, vs. the Dallas Cowboys.
With a 27-6-1 record going all the way back to the venue’s first season in 2001, the Steelers obviously do a great job against NFC teams at Heinz Field.
This is rather cliched to say, but Seattle is a West Coast team traveling to the East Coast for a 1 p.m. kickoff. Traditionally, this match-up is one that should favor the home team—all things being equal, of course.
Are all things equal, right now? Are the Steelers on the same level as a Seattle team that made the playoffs in 2018? Pittsburgh not only didn’t make the postseason in 2018, its record over the last seven games against those that did is 2-5.
At some point, that trend has to cease, same for the mediocre play on display since late in the 2018 campaign, if we are to believe the Steelers are serious contenders.
The Steelers have a great opportunity this Sunday to make a statement against a really good and well-coached football team that comes complete with one of those franchise quarterbacks in Russell Wilson.
If they do, maybe the fans that have been on the fence since their late-2018 slide began will start to believe in their ability to contend.
More importantly, maybe the Steelers players will start to believe in themselves and what they are capable of in 2019.