The regular season marks the culmination of an extensive investigation into who your team will be that year. By this point, you’ve gone through free agency, the draft, training camp, and the preseason. You feel good in your decisions insofar as you can create clarity without having played meaningful games. But there are still plenty of uncertainties that remain, whether at the start of the regular season or the end, and new ones continually develop over time.
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 Steelers will go on an extended winning streak (of at least five games).
Explanation: After an impressive win in the opener, the Steelers dug themselves a hole by dropping three straight games. They have climbed back up to .500 in time for their bye, but have left themselves little margin for error and will probably need a nice, long win streak to better position themselves for the AFC playoff race.
Extended winning streaks are common for the Steelers. Yes, they had an 11-game winning streak last year, but they also won six straight in 2018, eight in 2017, and nine (including two wins in the playoffs) in 2016.
This is a team that knows how to keep the focus and do what it takes to win, week in and week out, and that goes back to the leadership of head coach Mike Tomlin, who has won a surprising number of games in his career despite never having his team prepared to play.
More importantly, this is a team that is turning the corner. The offensive line is coming together, the defense should be getting some players back, and the rookies are growing, now with the bye week to take a breather and get some much-needed evaluation from the coaches about where they can go next
Najee Harris is still carrying the running game. The offensive line has made modest improvements, but not enough to bet on them, and frankly, the Steelers have barely won their last two games, at home, most recently against a backup quarterback for a team that hasn’t been without its quarterback for even a single game in a decade.
The Steelers’ next three games are against the Browns, the Bears, and the Lions (oh my…sorry). Cleveland will have a mini-bye since their next game is on a Thursday, and it will be in Ohio. They probably don’t even come out of that game with a win.