2022 South Side Questions: Can Steelers Go 7-2 In Second Half Of Season?

Kenny Pickett Mike Tomlin Steelers QB quarterback

The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, now into the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everybody refers to by its full name.

There are still unsettled questions that need answering, even deep into the regular season. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in scheme, and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.

Even questions about who’s starting and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as midseason changes are certainly quite possible, for some positions more than others. We’re also feeling out how the new coordinator posts—or posts in new contexts—end up playing out.

There’s never any shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.

Question: Can the Steelers go 7-2 in the second half of the season?

Significant change almost inevitably leads to a period of growing pains, and without the presence of a stalwart quarterback, it’s going to be difficult to keep winning while growing. Part of the Steelers’ significant change has been breaking in a rookie quarterback, who, for as many good plays as he has had, has also thrown twice as many interceptions as he has touchdowns accounted for (throwing or running).

With all the other new pieces, including on the coaching staff, among other issues, it all worked out to a 2-6 record in the first half. But now the Steelers are on their bye, an opportunity to take stock and make small adjustments.

And they will be getting T.J. Watt back after missing the past seven games, of which they only won one. That’s a pretty big deal that shouldn’t go overlooked. We’re talking about the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, who should be expected to return to that level in a hurry.

Then there’s the schedule. It lightens up. A lot. No more Buffalo. No more Philadelphia. Outside of the division—they do have to play the Baltimore Ravens twice, who just lost their number one wide receiver—they get the Saints, Colts, Falcons, Panthers, and Raiders.

Every single one of those five games, at least in theory, should be winnable. If they can go 2-2 within the division the rest of the way, that would work out to 7-2 over the final nine games. That would give them a 9-8 record, possibly enough to sneak into the playoffs.

Let’s be clear here: the question isn’t whether or not you want them to finish with a winning record and sneak into the playoffs, assuming that they’ll be one and done yet again. I’m sure almost none of you actually want that; you’re rooting for losses at this point. The question is whether or not it will happen, and what the odds of it happening are.

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