The Pittsburgh Steelers were questioned and doubted about the start that they had to their season because they had not played any quality opponents, marching out to a 4-0 start against a string of opponents who, up to that point combined for three wins in a five-week span.
Today’s game against the Cleveland Browns changed that narrative a bit, taking on a 4-2 opponent. Granted, it was at home, and against a team starting a quarterback who was banged up in Baker Mayfield, but they also dominated pretty consistently from the start of the game to the finish.
And that left them 5-0 on the year. They have had a lot of good starts in their history. Mike Tomlin’s teams usually end up at 6-2 by the midpoint of the season. But they had only ever been 5-0 just once in their entire history.
Last week, after notching their fourth victory, we talked about how it was only the fourth time in team history that they managed that. This season-starting winning streak puts this team in even rarer company, as the only Steelers team to ever begin a season with five straight victories was the 14-2 1978 Super Bowl champions.
That’s good company to be in, for sure. In fact, that 1978 team started the season 7-0. If this team wants to duplicate that feat, however, they will have to get through two more opponents who, as of now, have a combined 10 victories.
Next up is the Tennessee Titans, how are 5-0 after securing an overtime victory over the Houston Texans in what was a close back-and-forth game. They were supposed to play Tennessee in week three, but, well, you know what happened.
After that is the Baltimore Ravens, who are now 5-1, and who will be heading into their bye week. They were originally schedule to play the Steelers next week and have a bye the week after, but the Titans’ outbreak had the NFL flip those games.
So the Steelers will definitely face a Ravens team that is 5-1 when they play them. Pittsburgh will be at least 5-1 as well when they do, but they can also be 6-0 and outright own the best record in the AFC if they can beat the Titans down in Nashville.
The loss of Devin Bush defensively will make things tougher, for sure, but this is a team capable of winning in a variety of ways. If they can control Derrick Henry and the Titans’ running game, then they h have a good chance of remaining undefeated heading into a critical divisional matchup.
Another factor here is going on the road. The Steelers have played four home games in their first five contests. The next two are away games. How will they handle that? Their only away game was against a bad New York Giants team in the opener.