9-0: From a Steelers fan’s perspective


photo via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers. If they were a dog, they’d be a pitbull. 

The rust-belt attitude that Pittsburgh exudes defines the Steelers through their gritty and resilient play so far in 2020.

However, as a Steelers fan, this year has been odd. Yes, we are used to being playoff shoo-ins in the AFC. Yes, we are used to being in the Super Bowl conversation, but this year is different. No, Steelers fans are not used to being undefeated in week ten. 

The Steelers defense has carried the team to an impressive 9-0 record, overcoming several winning  teams including the Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens. Outside-linebacker TJ Watt has led the Steelers with nine sacks and behind him plays a solid secondary headlined by Minkah Fitzpatrick and Joe Haden. Ben Rothlesberger, a two-time Super Bowl champion and Steelers quarterback, has played excellently this year, throwing for 22 touchdowns with only four interceptions.

Yet, I don’t feel certain that the Steelers will go undefeated, nor am I even hoping that it will happen. The Steelers boast a great team, don’t get me wrong, but they are bound to make an error and here’s why:

  • Strength of schedule thus far

The Steelers have played a schedule that has a combined record of 33-47-2. Though this is near the average record in the league this year, it does show that the Steelers dodged consistently good teams, namely due to the fact that the Steelers played several teams from the NFC East, where no team can manage a winning record. However, the Steelers do play in the best division in football, the AFC North and will face several solid teams before the year concludes. 

  •  Close games that the Steelers edged out 

Though the Steelers point differential of +100 shows that they are consistently outscoring opponents, it does not paint the whole picture. Five out of the Steelers nine games have been decided by a margin of seven points or fewer. Head coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers squeezed through the tight games so far, but the NFL is not forgiving to teams who tempt fate. 

  • An error-prone franchise

Ask any Steelers fan what their least favorite aspect of watching a Steelers game is, and they will all say avoiding cardiac arrest. Every “yinzer” knows that the Steelers always lose games that they are supposed to win. Coming into this year, the Steelers were 1-9 against teams they were favored to beat by double digits in the Tomlin-era. Even though that has changed this year, I am not confident in the Steelers’ ability to beat a bad team. 

In my opinion, the Steelers streak will come to an end this weekend in Jacksonville. Though Jacksonville has let go of every good football player on their team, it would be stereotypical Pittsburgh to end an undefeated streak to an organization that appears to be tanking for Trevor, not competing for wins.