The NFL is now 10 games into the 2020 season. At this point in the year, we have a pretty good idea not only of who most teams are and where they will be going, but we’re also beginning to get a picture of what the postseason may look like.
It then feels fitting that, for the first time during the 2020 season, coming out of week 11, the Pittsburgh Steelers are now at the top of the heap with the number one scoring defense in the NFL. Because the Los Angeles Rams put up seven-plus points on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during last night’s game, it secured the Steelers that distinction.
Through the first 10 games of the season, thanks to a couple of blowout wins in the past two weeks, Pittsburgh has now allowed just 174 points, which of course easily translates into 17.4 points allowed per game. The Buccaneers entered their 10th game last night having allowed 18.67 points per game, while Pittsburgh, prior to their 27-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, were allowing exactly 19 points per game.
They are also first in the league in both takeaways and takeaways per game after recording four interceptions on Sunday, averaging 2.1 takeaways per game. They also, of course, lead the NFL in sacks, while they rank in the top five in yards allowed per game, second in yards per play, first in first downs allowed and completions allowed—probably completion percentage too, second in net yards per pass attempt, and fourth in both scores allowed and takeaways per drive.
Bottom line, this is a good unit. Now, it has to be said that they have had some opportunities to feast upon some bad teams, even teams playing backup quarterbacks, but that’s the case for every team, and the bottom line is you can only beat the teams you face.
The Steelers have held every opponent this season to under 30 points so far, and everybody except for the Philadelphia Eagles under 25 points. They have held half of their opponents to under 20 points, and have three times allowed only 10 or fewer points—including each of the past two games.
On the flip side, they have scored at least 24 points in every game this season to date, which is the first time that they have done that in franchise history. They have already scored more points than they did all of last season. Their 29.8 points per game is the best in franchise history and currently ranks fourth in the NFL, behind only the Kansas City Chiefs, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Green Bay Packers.
And the Steelers rank first in the league in points differential. In fact, outside of the Chiefs, nobody is even close. The Steelers are averaging 12.4 points per game more than they are allowing, while Kansas City is averaging 10.7. The Baltimore Ravens and the New Orleans Saints are tied for third at 7.3, with the Indianapolis Colts, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Miami Dolphins the only other teams at plus-six or better.