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The Steelers run defense will surrender less than 100 yards per game

In the new “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” series, we break down situations which could take place for the Steelers in 2021.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2021 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.

It is simple how it works. We provide you the scenario, reasons why it will or won’t happen, and then our prediction for what we think will take place.

Let’s get to the scenario...

Scenario: The Steelers run defense will surrender less than 100 yards per game

2020 Rush Defense: 111.4 yds/gm
2019 Rush Defense: 109.6 yds/gm
2018 Rush Defense: 96.1 yds/gm

Why it will happen: The Pittsburgh Steelers are a defense that is built around their front seven. Luckily for them, and the rabid Steelers fans, the team returns almost their entire front seven in 2020. In fact, some might argue they actually improve their defensive front with the return of Devin Bush to the lineup. Nonetheless, the biggest factor in the defense returning back to their form of having a suffocating rush defense is keeping Stephon Tuitt, Cam Heyward and Tyson Alualu healthy. Of course, the above statistics are based on last year’s opponents, but the Steelers will always have the goal of making an opposing offense one dimensional, and that typically starts with stopping the run.

Why it won’t happen: The Steelers will be facing some talented running backs in 2021 when you look at their schedule, and on top of having to play the likes of Josh Jacobs (Raiders), Aaron Jones (Packers) and Nick Chubb (Browns) twice a year, the run defense has been the softest part of their defense the past two seasons. It’s been since 2018 the Steelers have averaged under 100 yards per game as a defense, and when you look at the losses of Mike Hilton and Bud Dupree you have to wonder if they’ll be able to get the job done in 2021.

Prediction: Last season only five teams finished the year with a sub 100 yard average in rush defense, and that should matter when looking at the Steelers’ projections for 2021. Could the Steelers cut 11 yards off their average? Absolutely, wouldn’t be that difficult. Eliminate a few big runs and there you have it. However, it seems as if when the team focused on improving the back end of the defense, they gave up something up front. I absolutely think the Steeler’s rush defense will be fine, but I don’t see them keeping opponents under 100 yards, on average. Hopefully I’m wrong, but I’ll go with them surrendering, on average, 105 yards per game on the ground.


Check out yesterday’s ‘30 Scenarios in 30 Days’ prediction:

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.