This AFC North Pittsburgh Steelers Preview 2019 sees this team as struggling to get to the playoffs. Our Pittsburgh Steelers Preview 2019 notes that this team has lost something on offense, is not as deep as they’d like on defense, and are lacking on special teams. Last season, for the first time since 2013, the Steelers missed the playoffs. Also last year for the first time since 2013, Pittsburgh did not put up double-digits in wins. This is a team that has to deal with the loss of WR Antonio Brown, and its final chapter with RB Le’Veon Bell, who sat all of last season due to a contract dispute and is now with the NY Jets. Plus, despite the fact that he posted some of his best numbers ever, 37-year-old QB Ben Roethlisberger is not getting any younger.
Pittsburgh Steelers Preview 2019 – Team
Our Pittsburgh Steelers Preview 2019 observes that head coach Mike Tomlin (133-73-1 Overall & 8-7 Postseason Pittsburgh), now in his 13th season, is on the hot seat. He did lead this team to two Super Bowl in his first four seasons. But since 2011, he’s guided this team to just two postseason wins. People have expected more from him especially due to the amount of talent he’s had the pleasure to coach. Now Tomlin has to retool an aging team, while the Cleveland Browns are on the upswing, offering them some real competition.
Pittsburgh – Offense
The offense generated 26.8 PPG (6th), while their passing game accumulated 313.0 YPG (2nd). However, the Steelers struggled on the ground, ranking 31st with just 90.3 YPG. With their strong passing game, Pittsburgh ranked fourth in total offense (403.3 YPG). They were solid in sacks allowed, as they gave up just 24 (4th) and were good on third-down conversions with a 44% success rate (8th).
Despite having an excellent season in 2018, Roethlisberger (675 ATT, 452 COMP, 5129 YDs, 34 TDs, 16 INTs) could not lead Pittsburgh to the playoffs. It won’t be any easier this year. However, there is good news on offense. First, this team has one of the best O-lines in the NFL. Plus, last year in his second pro season, RB James Conner (215 ATT, 973 YDs, 4.5 AVG, 12 TDs) proved to be the perfect replacement for Bell. The receiving unit sees WR Juju Smith-Schuster (111 REC, 1426 YDs, 12.8 AVG, 7 TDs) return. He became a premium receiver last year. WR Donte Moncrief (48 REC, 668 YDs, 13.9 AVG, 3 TDs) comes to Pittsburgh from the Jags, while TE Vance McDonald (50 REC, 610 YDs, 12.2 AVG, 4 TDs) looks to expand on his numbers. A bit more depth in the receiving unit would be helpful.
Steelers – Defense
The Steelers were sixth on total yards (327.2 YPG), 10th on pass defense (231.1 YPG), and sixth on rush D (96.1 YPG). They allowed 22.5 PPG (17th). In terms of sacks, their 52 QB bring-downs tied them for first in the NFL, while their eight picks earned them a ranking of 28th. They were -11 in turnover differential (28th).
Our Pittsburgh Steelers Preview 2019 notes that the second and third top sackers from last season, DE Cameron Heyward (8 SCKs) and NT Javon Hargrave (6.5 SCKs), are on the frontline. However, DE Stephon Tuitt, who’s the team’s highest paid defender, has had two disappointing seasons. He must step up. The linebacking unit includes Pro Bowler T.J. Watt (13 SCKs) who led the Steelers in sacks. LB Vince Williams (76 TKLs, 4.5 SCKs) was second in tackles. Mark Barron comes to the team from the Rams to help the unit. The secondary, which is the weakest unit on this side of the ball, sees free agent CB Steven Nelson (4 INTs), formerly with the Chiefs, join them. He’ll play opposite Joe Haden (2 INTs) and will try to solidify the secondary.
Last year, Pittsburgh’s special teams were awful. Ryan Switzer, who was average at best, is back to return punts and kickoffs. Jordan Berry, who is a sound directional punter but inconsistent, is also back. Last season, he averaged 43.7 YPP and placed 44.44% within the 20-yard line. PK Chris Boswell, who had a terrible 2018 making just 65% of his field goals, returns. The Steelers look to him to get back to the 92% success rate he enjoyed in 2017.
Pittsburgh Steelers Preview 2019 – Prediction
With Roethlisberger aging, an uneven defense, and a thin group of pass catchers, our Pittsburgh Steelers Preview 2019 envisions this team struggling. However, this team will be competitive. They certainly have enough talent to stay in the game. If Big Ben goes down, then second-year QB and third-round draft pick Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State) is the designated number two man. That could make for a very long season for this team.
- Quarterbacks – 8.9
- Running Backs – 7.3
- Receivers – 6.9
- Offensive Linemen – 8.8
- Defensive Linemen – 7.3
- Linebackers – 6.6
- Secondary – 6.1
- Special Teams – 5.7
- Coaching – 7.3
AFC North Pittsburgh Steelers Preview 2019 – Projection
Pittsburgh Steelers Second in AFC North