The Pittsburgh Steelers, especially lately, have been a really streaky team, and we saw that yet again in 2018. With their victory over the Baltimore Ravens yesterday, they secured their fifth win of the season in their fourth win in a row, giving them three consecutive seasons, and four of the past five, in which they have put together a winning streak of at least four games.
After four games, the Steelers were just 1-2-1 on the year and at the bottom looking up in the AFC North, but they have changed their fortunes and surged to the top of the division, now with a record of 5-2-1, half a game ahead of the 5-3 Cincinnati Bengals, whom they have already beaten.
It started with the Atlanta Falcons, who were having plenty of issues of their own. Both teams had just one win on the year up to that point, and the Steelers came away with the blowout win, but both teams have been successful since then, the Falcons winning each of the three games that they have played since to climb to 4-4.
Then it was the Bengals, who put up the toughest fight. The then-division leaders trailed for most of the game before coming up with a late go-ahead drive, which forced Ben Roethlisberger and the offense to come back at the end, him finding Antonio Brown for the game-winning score with just seconds to play.
Since the bye week, Pittsburgh has added two more wins against their divisional opponents and are now in clear control of their own divisional destiny, though they would need help from either the New England Patriots, whom they still have yet to play, and the Kansas City Chiefs, who already walloped them, to get a bye week.
If recent history is anything to go by, the streak isn’t about to end. The Steelers won eight games in a row, and 10 of their final 11, starting in Week Four last season. Their only loss came to the Patriots, and that was on a controversial overturned go-ahead touchdown late in the game that directly inspired a rule change in the offseason.
The year before that, in 2016, the Steelers carried a seven-game winning streak into the postseason, which they expanded to nine games in total during the first two rounds of the playoffs, though of course they fell short, again to the Patriots.
They were a terrible loss to a Ryan Mallett-led Ravens team away from ending the 2015 season on a five-game winning streak, but they did close out the 2014 season winners of their final four games, which included two big wins over the Bengals to claim their first divisional title since 2010.
This team isn’t must different from last year’s group that won 10 of their final 11 games. They have the talent, the experience, and the ability to run off a long streak of victories. Up next is a home game against a good Carolina Panthers team. Can they deliver, ahead of a trip down to Jacksonville, who beat them twice last year?