The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The defense is not good enough to carry the offense into postseason success.
Explanation: Despite coming into this game still in the top 10 in scoring in the NFL, it’s becoming increasingly apparent week by week that the Steelers’ offense is one that is extremely flawed, and increasingly limited, while injuries continue to take their toll on the defense.
All you have to do is look at what happened to this defense in the second half of last night’s game. No defense that can have that bad of a half is going to carry a team deep into the playoffs, and certainly won’t be getting past an offense led by Patrick Mahomes.
If the Steelers are going to make it past the first round of the playoffs, they’re going to end up seeing teams like the Buffalo Bill and the Kansas City Chiefs, and these offenses are better than what the Steelers have—enough to offset whatever defensive advantage exists.
Granted, Pittsburgh will get some reinforcements, particularly at linebacker, with Vince Williams and hopefully Robert Spillane available by the end of the regular season, but they aren’t getting Bud Dupree back, that’s for sure, and they long ago lost Devin Bush.
While the Steelers’ offense may have devolved into a one-trick pony as the season has progressed, that trick can still be effective when things are actually working properly, and that includes guys not dropping passes. Some adjustments need to be made, sure, but this is still a group that can put up points.
They still have Ben Roethlisberger. He might not be in his prime, but he can make the plays that keep you in games. He already has a few game-winning drives this season, after all, after the defense gave up leads in the fourth quarter.
Pittsburgh had some funky things to deal with in recent weeks that threw the team off, not to mention a wave of Covid-19 cases in their own building. They haven’t had a proper break. They won’t get one, but they can use this time to catch their breath and regroup—and everyone can calm down. This is a team that can certainly win the last three games of the regular season and enter the playoffs hot.