The Pittsburgh Steelers are 5-3 as the halfway point in the NFL season is here. After beating the Tennessee Titans, the Steelers are currently the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoff picture, but where do they stand in power rankings across the internet?
Here’s a look:
NFL.com writer Eric Edholm ranked the Steelers at No. 14, one spot higher than last week.
The Steelers are 12-5 over the past calendar year but have only outscored opponents by nine points in that span. The point differential this season (minus-30) is even worse. Pittsburgh’s 5-3 record paints a picture of a very good coach (Mike Tomlin) massaging enough games to keep the team close and win some late. But in order to make any postseason noise, this offense must awaken prior to the fourth quarter. The Steelers are being out-rushed by more than 40 yards per game and out-passed by more than 50, and the offense’s early-game sputtering is a big reason why. There’s hope, with the emergence of Jaylen Warren, Broderick Jones and Diontae Johnson, plus the expected return of Pat Freiermuth, but everything ultimately rests on Kenny Pickett and Matt Canada improving down the stretch.
The Athletic’s Josh Kendall at No. 13, one spot lower than last week
Yes, the Steelers are two games above .500, but we can’t forget the hype surrounding this team’s preseason offensive performance, and the subsequent uptick in expectations it caused. Through that lens, this team (which ranks 26th in the league at 4.7 yards per play), feels less than what it should be. Pittsburgh is the 34th team since 1933 to be outgained in each of its first eight games and is the only team from that list to have a winning record after eight games, according to ESPN.
Bleacher Report had the Steelers at No. 16, three spots higher than last week.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are making something of an art form out of winning ugly. But style points don’t count, and eight games in the Steelers are a surprising 5-3.
Frankly, the Steelers looked relatively good Thursday night offensively—at least in comparison to recent efforts. 326 yards isn’t a gaudy offensive total, but Pittsburgh converted half its third downs and averaged 5.5 yards per carry against a stout Titans run defense.
With that said, it was hardly a flawless effort. This time it was the Pittsburgh defense that was sloppy, committing six penalties that gave the Titans first downs.