The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is underway, and they are hoping for a better outcome in comparison to last season. After starting out 11-0, they finished the year 1-4 in the regular season, and then lost in the Wildcard Round to the Cleveland Browns, ignited by a 0-28 first quarter.
They have lost a large number of key players in the offseason, like Maurkice Pouncey, Bud Dupree, Alejandro Villanueva, David DeCastro, Mike Hilton, and Steven Nelson, but they’ve also made significant additions as the months have gone on, notably Trai Turner, Melvin Ingram, Joe Schobert, and Ahkello Witherspoon. They also added Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Kendrick Green, and Dan Moore Jr., all of whom are starting.
There isn’t much left to do but to play the games at this point. Even if they play them poorly. They still have a lot to figure out, though, such as what Matt Canada’s offense is going to look like in any given week, or how the new-look secondary and offensive line is going to play.
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: Are you a Jacksonville Jaguars fan this week?
With the Steelers’ victory over the Cleveland Browns last night, they remain alive for the postseason in 2021. Now 8-7-1 with one week left to go, they still have a chance of making it to the dance…but they do need a little help from their friends.
The easy(?) assist should come from two teams who beat them this year out of the AFC West. All they need from the Las Vegas Raiders and the Los Angeles Rams next week is to simply not tie each other. As long as one of them loses, Pittsburgh is still alive.
The big ask is from Jacksonville. The Steelers need them to beat the Indianapolis Colts. If that happens, and the Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens (and the Raiders and Chargers don’t tie), then they’re moving on and playing the next week in the single-elimination tournament. If any of those three things don’t happen, that’s all she wrote for Ben Roethlisberger’s playing days.
The question is, do you want to see the Steelers reach the postseason this year? Or would you rather them just lose? If they advance, then they can draft no higher than 19th, assuming that they lose in the Wild Card round and end up having the earliest possible slot available to a playoff team.
If the season were to end right now, it wouldn’t be much better. They would be drafting 17th, the only current non-playoff team drafting behind them being the Raiders, who have a 9-7 record. If they lose, best-case scenario, they could pick up maybe three slots, I believe, and draft as high as 14th.
So, win, have Jacksonville win, and the Raiders and Chargers not tie, and they’re most likely drafting somewhere between 19-22. Lose, or win and not get the help they need, and they’re probably looking at a draft pick around 16-18. Is that big a difference worth not even qualifying the postseason?
Of course, if they were to have lost both of their final two games, they could have had a shot at the number 10 pick. That would have required some things unlikely to happen, however, like the Falcons beating the Chiefs, who are still fighting for the number one seed and a first-round bye.