The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2022 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp back at St. Vincent College in order 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 defense will allow less than 20 points per game in 2022.
Why it will happen: Last season the Steelers defense game up 23.4 points per game. A pretty decent total considering they were the worst run defense in the league last season. When I think about what the 2022 defense could, and most would say should, look like, it would be a better version.
Knowing for sure Stephon Tuitt won’t be returning, and the addition of Larry Ogunjobi, the run defense should be better prepared to improve from that 32nd ranking. By being better against the run, even if they were to jump to just middle-of-the-road, would help them limit opponents point totals.
Lastly, considering it would just be 3.4 points off their 2021 average, making those improvements aren’t out of the realm of possibility.
Why it won’t happen: On paper, the Steelers’ defense has improved, but there are still a lot of question marks which could hinder their overall production:
- Is Ogunjobi’s Lisfranc injury totally healed?
- How does Demarvin Leal fit into the scheme?
- Will Tyson Alualu be able to continue a high level of play after his injury and age?
- What will the difference be between Keith Butler’s defense and Teryl Austin?
You get the picture...
But it does make you pause when considering giving this unit some lofty expectations for 2022. If the Steelers want to keep opponents off 20 points, they need to be vastly better at stopping the run. That’s something I have to see to believe, so I can see why fans aren’t about to suggest the Steelers will make a huge improvement this year.
Prediction: The 20 point plateau is a tough one to reach. Last season only four teams averaged less than 20 points per game. They were:
- Buffalo Bills
- New Orleans Saints
- England Patriots
- Denver Broncos
While eliminating just 3.4 points from the average isn’t a huge deal, it isn’t necessarily an easy feat either. There are too many question marks on this defense both with starters and depth, so I’m going to say I don’t think the defense is capable of getting this job done in 2022. However, if you want a number prediction, I can see them improving their average, but being slightly over 20 points. I’ll go with 21.3 points per game surrendered in 2022, and that is still an improvement.
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 2022 regular season.