The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, in which they entered with big aspirations, in spite of a tumultuous start to the offseason. Significant players were lost via trade and free agency, players who have helped shape the course of the franchise in recent years. We even now sit here without Ben Roethlisberger after just two games.
The team made some bold moves this offseason and in some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago. That would especially be the case at wide receiver and inside linebacker, where they have new starters. And quarterback was suddenly added to that list.
How will the season progress without Roethlisberger, behind Mason Rudolph, and now Devlin Hodges? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in games? Who is sitting out due to injury?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: How good are the Buffalo Bills?
I think this is a question that a lot of people are still trying to figure out, because in spite of the fact that they are 9-4 with three games left to play, you can’t help but look at their schedule and wonder who they’ve beaten.
There are only two teams with a worse strength of victory (the combined win-loss record of the teams one has beaten) than the Bills, at just .308. despite notching nine wins on the season, those nine teams they’ve beaten have a combined 36 victories to 81 losses.
This is a pretty important question because many are wondering the same thing about the Steelers, who also have among the lowest strength of victory records in the league—which could become an issue at the end of the season in playoff tiebreakers. Their eight wins have come against teams with a combined 33 wins (counted twice if a team has lost twice, of course).
The best team the Bills have beaten this season is the Tennessee Titans, but they played Tennessee back in Week Six when Marcus Mariota was still starting. They were 2-3 at the time and have since gone 6-2, largely after benching Mariota for Ryan Tannehill.
Otherwise, they have beaten truly some of the worst teams in the league, including both New York teams, Washington, and the Dolphins. Their win over the Cowboys looks less and less impressive with each passing week.
The again, so does the Steelers’ win over the Indianapolis Colts. The Los Angeles Rams, at least, have gone 3-1 since losing to Pittsburgh and are 8-5, clearly the best team they’ve beaten. Of course, you can only play who’s on your schedule, and these two teams are among the best teams on each other’s schedules.