The Pittsburgh Steelers are 4-0. They have only been 4-0 or better three times before in the history of the franchise, and all three of the previous times came all the way back in the 1970s, with the last being in 1979, which of course ended in a Super Bowl victory.
While it’s rather nice to have zero losses, it’s also worth keeping things in perspective—for starters, the perspective of just how bad the four teams that they have beaten are. Let’s take a moment to remember who they have beaten: The New York Giants, the Denver Broncos, and the Houston Texans, before taking down the Philadelphia Eagles.
Between the four of those teams, they have a combined three and a half wins—fewer wins that the Steelers have on their own. The Texans just got their first victory of the season yesterday, after beating the Jacksonville Jaguars, who made NFL history by losing to winless teams in three consecutive weeks.
The Broncos, who are on a bye week, at 1-3, while the Eagles are now 1-3-1. The Giants tied with the New York Jets and the Atlanta Falcons, who just fired their head coach and general manager, for the worst records in the league, the only three remaining winless teams.
Altogether, the record of the Steelers’ previous opponents are 3-14-1, a winning percentage of .194. We knew heading into the season that they were projected to have the easiest schedule in the league based on last year’s winning percentages, that’s true, but the real test is coming.
After all, the Steelers’ next three games are against the 4-1 Cleveland Browns, the currently 3-0 Tennessee Titans, and then the 4-1 Baltimore Ravens. The Browns’ only loss of the season has been to the Ravens, while the Ravens’ only loss of the season has been to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Their next three opponents are a combined 11-2, a winning percentage of .846, among the best teams in the league right now. This is the gauntlet portion of the Steelers’ schedule, and if they can get through it with a winning record, then they will be in good shape—especially if they happen to notch their victories over their division rivals.
Even going 1-2 in that stretch wouldn’t be so bad. They would still come out of it 5-2 and tracking toward a record of no worse than 11-5, or perhaps 12-4. Outside of additional games coming up against the Ravens and Browns, the only games of particular note remaining would be against the currently undefeated Buffalo Bills on the road and perhaps the Indianapolis Colts at home in week 16.
These next three games will tell us a lot about who this Steelers team is, plain and simple. It’s nice to be 4-0, but it’s hard to tell just how much that says about the team when you’re playing opponents who have been at their worst at the time that they played them.