CBS Takes The Over On Steelers 7.5 Win Total Projection

Since taking over as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007, Mike Tomlin has coached a myriad of locker room personalities, from soft-spoken guys like Troy Polamalu and Lawrence Timmons to divas such as Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. However, one constant has remained through it all, and that’s the fact that the team has never once seen a losing season under Tomlin’s guidance. A few .500 seasons are mixed in there, but this 15-year streak is the longest current streak in the league.

Recently, the NFL schedule was released, to a mixed bag of remarks regarding the Steelers’ schedule. Although the team’s travel schedule is light, as it offers the least amount of miles traveled in the league, and no trips outside the EST time zone, it does feature some tough territory to navigate. Seven games against playoff opponents from last season, including a Week 1 matchup in Paul Brown Stadium to face a Bengals team that advanced to the Super Bowl, and also outscored them 65-20 in their two divisional matchups. As such, many sportsbooks like FanDuel or Caesars, have the early lines out for each team’s 2022 win totals, with Pittsburgh’s set at 7.5 wins.

The team’s biggest obstacle to start the season will be determining who will start under center, be it experienced veteran free-agent pickup Mitch Trubisky or the most pro-ready QB in this year’s draft, Kenny Pickett. Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports seems to be of the thinking that despite a daunting early season schedule, the team will be able to navigate it, and is leaning towards the over on the aforementioned 7.5.

He writes:

“Pittsburgh has a tough schedule. In the first half alone, they get the Bengals, Patriots, Browns, Bills and Buccaneers. There will inevitably be growing pains for rookie QB Kenny Pickett, too. And yet Mike Tomlin is the coach who can never be counted out; he’s still never had a losing season in 15 years. Even if Pickett is just OK, they should be comparable to their 2021 selves.”

Everything that he said points to being true. The need areas of the team from last season have, for the most part, been addressed. The team handed out a lot of free agency money to help fix the issues along the offensive line, adding guard James Daniels and center Mason Cole, while re-signing tackle Chukwuma Okorafor. These moves will boost the running game, which will obviously help out whoever starts at QB. The wide receiver room has been replenished with the drafting of George Pickens and Calvin Austin III. The defense has also added or retained several starters, adding inside linebacker Myles Jack and cornerback Levi Wallace, and re-signing key secondary members Ahkello Witherspoon and Terrell Edmunds.

Much of the team’s trouble from last season can be attributed to their run defense, which was absolutely abysmal, ranking dead last in the league. Obviously this is a concern, as it wears out the starters whenever they simply cannot get off the field due to long drives. A return of Stephon Tuitt would do wonders, but the team also drafted for insurance, adding DeMarvin Leal from Texas A&M, who was often found going in the first round in many mocks leading up to the draft. If the team can stay healthy, the defense should regain it’s top form, and will supplement a changing of the guard on offense as the team transitions from the Ben Roethlisberger era. All of this, under the tutelage of Tomlin, should definitely equate to the over on that 7.5 win total.

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