With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ season just 24 hours away, I wanted to make some completely arbitrary and totally meaningless stat predictions for this team this season. My guesses (and they are very much guesses) of what the stat sheet will look like at the end of this season.
For this exercise, I’m assuming each player plays all 17 games. That won’t obviously come true but it makes the stats the cleanest and easiest to do. Of course, for players already injured (like RB Anthony McFarland and DL Stephon Tuitt) I am taking into consideration the three games minimum they’ll miss this year.
Let me know your thoughts and your own stat predictions below.
Attempts a bit down for Roethlisberger, even over 17 games, which would be a welcomed sight for an offense that will hopefully run the ball more effectively this year. His YPA jumps from 6.3 a year ago to 7.3, a sign he’ll push the ball downfield more under Matt Canada. Projecting out a healthy season for Roethlisberger leaves little for Rudolph here.
To an extent, I think we’re underestimating what Harris’ stats will be this year. 295 carries is only 17 carries a game. There will be contests in which he has 20+ this year. And even averaging 4.0 YPC puts him very close to 1200 yards rushing. Keep in mind James Conner never averaged worse than 4.0 YPC in his Steelers’ career and averaged 4.3 last season despite an ugly offensive line. 4.2 is more than reasonable for a talented back like Harris.
I can see Claypool be used a fair amount as a jet/motion player and get a chunk play off it.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Numbers down across the board with the Steelers throwing less than last season. YPC up on JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson but their receptions being down keep their yards down. Having so many weapons makes it hard for one guy to put up huge numbers too.
Harris comes semi-close to breaking Claypool’s record for receptions by a rookie but he doesn’t quite get all the way there. Ebron’s numbers come down a bit because of Freiermuth, who should sit right at that 30-reception mark. Washington is used as a vertical, Z-receiver for some big, downfield plays.
Watt sets the franchise record for sacks, averaging at least one sack per game. These five alone come out to 41.5 sacks. Steelers would need 8.5 sacks from the rest of the group to reach 50 again, which seems attainable.
Projecting a big year from Fitzpatrick with his six interceptions. James Pierre might be a bit up-and-down but he’ll make some big plays in coverage with his projected three INTs.
Gonna get yelled at for this one. Predicting the Steelers to go 9-8. This team better play better in December and January than they have over the last three seasons. Tough division, tough schedule, questionable offensive line puts me at nine wins. Have them making the playoffs as the 7th seed and getting bounced in the first round with another disappointing season. Ben Roethlisberger retires six days after the season.