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‘The Team I’d Least Want To Face:’ Good Morning Football Sees Steelers As Serious Playoff Threat

After starting the season with an abysmal 2-6 record, the Pittsburgh Steelers are now 8-8 with a realistic shot of making the playoffs going into the season finale. The Steelers are 6-2 in their last eight games and are on a three-game winning streak after beating the Baltimore Ravens Sunday night. In talking about the Steelers, NFL Network’s Good Morning Football analyst Peter Schrager stated they are the team he would least want to face.

“I can’t say enough about this Steelers’ team,” Schrager said. “How impressed I am, how young they are on offense. You talk about Kenny Pickett, Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, and Sims. They went into Baltimore, against that Baltimore defense when they need it most, Pickett is able to dissect the defense and get the win they need.”

 

After a disparaging 35-13 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Steelers look like a completely new team, especially on offense. In their first eight games, they ranked 28th in EPA per play with -0.081 according to RBSDM. In the eight games since, they rank seventh in that category with 0.090, as well as third in the league in rushing EPA with 0.044, and second in run success rate with 50.2%.

Young offenses don’t gain chemistry right away, and this group took some time to do so. Ever since they did, however, they are a top ten unit by most measures.

Not enough can be said about Pickett and the offense’s performance yesterday. The young running back duo of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren combined for 34 carries and 187 yards. On the game-winning drive, Pickett made two big-time throws on the run, and made an impressive scramble drill touchdown throw to Harris to seal the game.

“I don’t wanna face this Steelers’ team,” Schrager continued. “They’re red hot, they’re getting confidence, and they don’t lose games when they’re close. This is the team I’d least want to face because they’re only getting better and better every week.”

Under Mike Tomlin, the Steelers often start seasons off slow and finish strong. This is another one of those cases, and the team is indeed red hot. Granted, their competition is not exactly top-tier in this stretch. That being said, the defense has held the opposition to less than 17 points in each of the last six games, and the offense is red hot, which is impressive nonetheless.

The Steelers’ path to the playoffs, while improved, is not great. Fivethirtyeight.com currently gives them a 19% chance to make it, as they need the Buffalo Bills to beat the New England Patriots and the New York Jets to beat the Miami Dolphins. While the Bills are playing at home and will have plenty to play for, the Jets are eliminated and playing on the road. However, crazier things have happened, as the Steelers made it to the postseason in a similar way last season.

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