The general sentiment regarding the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers at the beginning of the regular season was that, if they could just tread water over the first 10 games or so, they’d be able to do some real damage down the stretch.
The hope for the Steelers just to hang on and not sink became even more pressing following the serious pectoral injury suffered by T.J. Watt late in a Week 1 overtime victory over the Bengals.
Spoiler alert: The Steelers didn’t tread water over the first 10 games. They sunk to the bottom of the Allegheny River (or the AFC North standings, to be less dramatic) and are now 3-7 as they begin the supposedly weak portion of their 2022 matchups.
The final seven games begin with a trip to Indianapolis this week where Pittsburgh will take on the 4-6-1 Colts on Monday Night Football.
After Indy, the Steelers will take on the Falcons, Ravens, Panthers, Ravens, Raiders, and finally, the Browns.
Other than Baltimore (twice), the Steelers opponents should give them a great chance to make up some ground in the standings (and when I say standings, I’m talking about the division, conference, NFL, etc.), no? I mean, the Steelers should be licking their chops, yes?
It’s too bad those other weak teams are saying the same thing about their date with the Steelers.
That starts with Indianapolis this Monday, a team that defeated the Chiefs earlier in the year, almost knocked off the Eagles just last week and is a 2.5-point favorite over Pittsburgh.
Have the Steelers been favored in any game so far in 2022? Will they be favored in any game down the stretch?
The point is this: From this moment forward, every time the Steelers play a team not named the Ravens, that team will look at Pittsburgh much like Pittsburgh looks at it: As a chance to get better.
The fans of each team will feel the same way; it will be like that Spider-Man meme where they’ll point to one another and simultaneously say, “You’re the lesser competition.”
Don’t misunderstand, I do think the Steelers have a chance to win as many games over the final seven matchups as they did over their first 10—three—but I wouldn’t count on many more.
I’m also highly suspicious of the Steelers’ chances to pick up one of those three wins this Monday night vs. a Colts team that, sure, is 25th in offense, but is also fourth in overall defense (Pittsburgh is 27th and 28th in each category, respectively).
3-2: That’s the best I see the Steelers doing against the “lesser competition” on their schedule, and I say that based on their record against such opponents over the first 10 games—they lost to the Browns and Jets before knocking off the Saints at Acrisure Stadium two weeks ago.
Actually, based on that data, my prediction of 3-2 vs. the lesser competition is quite optimistic.
I guess we’ll have to see how it all unfolds once the pointing starts.