Although the Pittsburgh Steelers ended the 2022 season on a high note and made a bunch of additions in free agency, they still are viewed as long shots to make the playoffs this season by Caesars Sportsbook. It has Pittsburgh with only a little over 40% chance to make the dance, worst in the AFC North.
Arjun Menon posted a graph of every team’s percentage to make the playoffs via Caesars’ odds. To fans of the Steelers, Pittsburgh’s odds seem oddly low.
Despite all the additions the team made after finishing in the eighth spot in the AFC last year, Pittsburgh is given the ninth best odds to make the playoffs. While odds mean nothing at the end of the day, it is interesting that the oddsmakers aren’t expecting a jump from Pittsburgh despite its young team and a chance to be healthier on the defensive side of the ball.
The Steelers have one of the easier schedules this coming season, with their strength of schedule 25th in the NFL. If quarterback Kenny Pickett makes a second-year jump and T.J. Watt and the defense stays healthy I would not be surprised to see the Steelers finish with 10-plus wins.
Last year was a disaster on offense with a quarterback switch in the fourth game to a rookie who got no first-team reps in training camp. Pickett and the offense should show improvement this year. Even if you believe that offensive coordinator Matt Canada should be fired, the offense gained an identity last season, one that won games. Down the stretch Pittsburgh went 7-2. Maybe smashmouth football isn’t glamorous enough for Vegas, but it is successful.
The AFC will likely be a juggernaut this coming season with teams such as the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets on the upswing, but some teams may be falling off soon. The Baltimore Ravens are in a predicament with All-Pro quarterback Lamar Jackson as he might not suit up in the Purple and Black this season. The Miami Dolphins have lingering questions about the health of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, and the Cleveland Browns being ahead of the Steelers is interesting given how bad they looked last year with Deshaun Watson.
It is always good to take odds with a grain of salt; they are just guesses. But I bet the young Steelers team, led by one of the best coaches in the NFL in Mike Tomlin will take this as bulletin board material for the upcoming season.