Another day, another power rankings list, and this time, it’s from Pro Football Focus, who aligns with ESPN more than NFL Network and CBS. The latter two outlets have the Pittsburgh Steelers ranked fourth heading into the third week of the season. Both ESPN and PFF have them outside of the top 10, albeit just, at 11th overall.
Unlike other outlets, PFF didn’t include any blurbs explaining why they have teams ranked where they are. They don’t even indicate whether teams are trending up or down, either on their list specifically or in general. But they do include some projections.
For example, the site projects that the Steelers will win 8.9 games on the season, which of course would have to round up to nine games, meaning a 9-7 record. Considering the fact that they have among the easiest schedules in the league, this seems to me a bit light, especially since they only have to go 7-7 for the remainder of the season to achieve that.
They also place the Steelers’ odds of reaching the playoffs at 56 percent, which is not much better than a coin flip. They have missed the postseason in each of the past two years, so they certainly wouldn’t be happy about making it three in a row. It’s been a long time since they missed the playoffs in three straight years, in fact.
If the season ended right now, the Steelers would be seeded fifth in the AFC as the top Wildcard seed. There are six teams in the conference who are currently 2-0, including the Las Vegas Raiders, who own the sixth seed for the moment. The New England Patriots own the seventh seed, with the 2-0 Buffalo Bills currently ahead of them for the AFC East.
Pittsburgh, of course, has to worry about the Baltimore Ravens, who are currently seeded at the top. Their 49 net points are by far the most in the league through two games, the only team coming close being the Green Bay Packers at 30. The Steelers have 15 net points through two weeks.
The standings now are what they are, but of course they will change throughout the season. Up next, the Steelers host the 0-2 Houston Texans, while the Ravens host the 2-0 defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, who are the only team to beat Lamar Jackson twice.
Baltimore doesn’t have a lot of quality opponents on its schedule, so the Steelers really need to capitalize on any opportunity they are presented with to possibly get a win over the Ravens in the standings.
If they are able to beat the Texans and the Ravens fall to the Chiefs, what will the discussion look like a week from now? Still, until the two teams actually play each other, I don’t think many will take Pittsburgh seriously as a division contender.