Analytics Model Predicts Steelers To Win 8.6 Games In 2023, Finish Last In AFC North

If you’re a stats nerd, you’re probably familiar with Warren Sharp. Today, he released his 2023 wins projections across the NFL through his site, Sharp Football Analysis, and projects the Pittsburgh Steelers to win 8.6 games this season. He also gives them the 11th-easiest schedule in football.

Of course, there are no “0.6” wins in the league but rounding up, that puts them at 9-8 for the year, matching last season’s mark.

On paper, Pittsburgh’s schedule looks easier in 2023 than it did a year ago when the Steelers faced some of the league’s best teams in the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles, two teams that blew Pittsburgh out. But strength of schedule is an unreliable metric knowing how much will change year-to-year. There will be some teams who exceed expectations, others who will disappoint, and injuries always throw a curveball into every projection out there. With Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl contenders. Without him, they’re an ordinary team.

In Sharp’s defense, he argues his SOS model is predictive, using last year’s metrics to back it up. According to his 2022 data, only two of the teams with the 10 hardest schedules made the playoffs while six of the top seven easiest advanced to the postseason.

Relative to the AFC North, Pittsburgh’s 8.6 wins brings up the rear of the division. The model predicts the Cincinnati Bengals as division champs at 11.5 wins followed by the Cleveland Browns at 9.3 and the Baltimore Ravens in third at 8.9.

Even knowing the exact order of the schedule tonight, predicting wins and losses is one of the most fruitless things to do. It’s fun to do in the moment but it’s thrown out and forgotten as soon as Week One kicks off. And that’s a good thing because projections and oddsmakers still aren’t sold on the Steelers despite a strong offseason. Of course, they also play in a difficult division that’s improved, too. The Ravens have loaded up at WR while locking down Lamar Jackson and the Browns are betting on a full year of Deshaun Watson to take them back to the playoffs.

Around the NFL, the Chiefs are tied with the Bengals for the best win total projection at 11.5. The Arizona Cardinals have the lowest at just 5.3.

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