2023 South Side Questions: Would Steelers Have Been Most Dangerous Of 7th Seed Options?

The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, nearing the end of 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 year. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in the 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: Would the Steelers have been the most dangerous team in the mix for the seventh seed?

The Steelers were one of four teams vying for the seventh and final seed in the AFC for the playoffs entering week three. At least, if memory serves. It was down to themselves, the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots, and the New York Jets. Something like that, anyway.

Of the four, the Steelers obviously had the strongest second half of the year, going 7-2 in their last nine games and finishing the season on a four-game winning streak, including one of their best offensive showings of the year in the finale.

Obviously, they did not reach the postseason—the Dolphins did. But out of all of the teams who could have ended as the seventh seed, which of them would have had the potential to be the most dangerous, the one who would have the best chance of potentially winning a playoff game or more?

Would it have been the Steelers? They did finish the year on a good defensive streak, holding their final seven opponents to under 18 points. That’s a nice little feather in your cap when you’re going into the playoffs, I think.

And they were also among the most successful rushing teams over the final couple of months as well. They finished with 1,318 rushing yards in their final nine games, the seventh-most out of all teams in the league this season over their own final nine games. They also had the fifth-most rushing touchdowns in that span.

And there’s no harm in having a sense of ‘clutch’ to you for the postseason, either. Style points don’t matter in a single-elimination tournament. All you need to have is one more point than your opponent by the time the game ends. They are a team who managed to find a way to do that quite a bit by year’s end.

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