For CBS Sports’ Will Brinson, Mike Tomlin’s non-losing season streak will continue in 2023. In predicting the record for every team in 2023, he has the Pittsburgh Steelers finishing 9-8 to keep that streak intact. And while mid-May predictions feel silly, heck, August predictions don’t exactly mean much more, it’s worth hearing what the NFL media at large expect from Pittsburgh.
In briefly explaining his choice, Brinson writes:
“The Steelers are super quiet this offseason. Almost … too quiet. If Kenny Pickett flips a switch next year (he did the same thing at the previous level) the Steelers could be kind of dangerous this season.”
Pittsburgh may seem quiet to the rest of the NFL but in the city, things sure have been loud. In his first full year as Steelers GM, Omar Khan has shaken up a chunk of the roster, typical for a new GM (even if he was an in-house promotion) but a change for Steelers fans.
His most notable additions include OG Isaac Seumalo, CB Patrick Peterson, and ILB Cole Holcomb followed by a universally praised draft class led by OT Broderick Jones and CB Joey Porter Jr. He’s traded for players, claimed them off waivers, traded up, traded down, and signed, using every avenue possible to make moves this offseason. By the time the 2023 Week One roster is set, there may legitimately be 25 players on this edition who weren’t Steelers in 2022.
Khan has executed a vision for the team, one that is big and physical and certainly looks the part. Kenny Pickett has gotten more weapons and protection up front. The team’s corners are bigger and longer. And the inside linebacker room at least looks different though it remains to be seen how much better it actually is.
Though the Steelers look better, how far they go will depend on Pickett’s progression. And the AFC North and AFC is still a difficult place to live where an improved roster doesn’t guarantee a better win/loss record. For Pittsburgh to succeed, it must do well against its own division. Going at least 4-2 against the North will be critical.
Around the division, Brinson projects the Cincinnati Bengals to go a healthy 13-4, the Baltimore Ravens 12-5, and the Cleveland Browns just 7-10, not believing in Deshaun Watson’s first full season as quarterback. Brinson has six teams (Bengals, Ravens, Bills, Jaguars, Chiefs, and Jets) with better records than Pittsburgh’s 9-8. The New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos are predicted to finish with the same record, meaning three teams would fight for tiebreakers and the 7th seed.