Some people like to start making predictions about what every team’s record is going to be for the upcoming season before the previous season is over, or at least so it seems. And you have plenty of additional re-evaluation stopping points along the way.
However, now that we are approaching the middle of August, and staring down the reality that this is about as much information that we are going to have about teams before they cut their rosters down to 53, since there won’t be any preseason games to play, now seems to be as good a time as any for another record projection.
And we do have a latest one for you, this coming from the NFL Network. What the league’s own media expects from the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020 is to improve—by two games, in terms of record, as they see them going 10-6 on the year after posting an 8-8 record in 2019. They went 9-6-1 the year before that.
The roughest part of Pittsburgh’s schedule in their eyes is the second quarter, during which they play the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cleveland Browns at home, and then follow that up with road games against the Baltimore Ravens and, following a bye week, a trip down to Texas to face the Dallas Cowboys.
They’re predicted to lose the slate, sans a win over the Browns, but Cleveland will come back to defeat them in the season finale, breaking up a projected 6-1 run leading up to that game, with the only loss in that run coming on the road against the Buffalo Bills in Week 14.
What they expect at the start of the season is a 3-1 beginning, opening with wins over the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos, both of whom are starting second-year quarterbacks who did not start complete seasons a year ago, then splitting AFC South games, with a loss at home to the Houston Texans and a win on the road against the Tennessee Titans. They’re projected to knock off the Jaguars, Colts, Washington, and Bengals twice, going 6-2, in the second half of the year.
While that is the projection, they do have some upward mobility in terms of their ceiling, projected at 12-4 if the defense can maintain its high level of play as well as its turnover production. However, their floor is set at 8-8, the same as where they were a season ago—even if that 8-8 seemed improbable after five weeks.
10-6 is not an unreasonable prediction, of course. The real question is what the Ravens will do. Colin Cowherd thinks they’re going to go 16-0. Others might see a clear regression after posting their best record in franchise history.