About nine weeks ago, I went out on the prognostication limb and predicted the outcome of every game on the Steelers’ 2018 schedule.
My Nostradamus-esque effort was met with harsh criticism as I had the Steelers winning the AFC North at 10-6, and losing in the divisional round of the playoffs. I was called, “stupid,” by one unpleased reader and told repeatedly that the Steelers were far better than 10-6 and would be in the Super Bowl.
The Steelers are 5-2-1 at the midway point and could as easily be 6-2 as they could be 5-3. Not bad for your local neighborhood clairvoyant.
I predicted a 2-0 start, the Steelers tied the Browns in the opener and lost to Kansas City at home. Who could have known Pat Mahomes would be starting what could be a record-setting season and the opener would be played in a complete deluge?
After squeaking by in Tampa Bay (I predicted a loss), the Steelers played their worst game of the season at home against the Baltimore Ravens to fall to 1-2-1. I had the Steelers at 3-2 after five games.
A four-game winning streak has pushed the Steelers a half game over my guess, so that begs the question, can the Steelers continue to win games and control their own destiny in the AFC North?
Logic suggests no, that the Steelers’ luck will run out as soon as Thursday night when a good Carolina Panthers team invades Heinz Field, but that part of me that is a fan says the Steelers’ recent past suggests a good second half.
But then there are the playoffs.
If the Steelers match what I predicted in September – a 5-3 second half (I did have them beating New Orleans, which seems less likely now, but losing to Oakland, also less likely now) – the Steelers will finish 10-5-1, probably win the AFC North and host a mediocre team like Tennessee, Miami or Cincinnati in an AFC Wild-Card game.
Bill Parcells once famously said, “You are what your record says you are,” and so the Steelers are pretty good. Here’s hoping the Steelers can at least continue that.
- A Le’Veon Bell sighting and his not-so-cryptic, “Fairwell [sic] Miami” tweet have fueled speculation that the running back will report to the Steelers before the November 13 deadline. I am certain he will accept his role as James Conner’s backup – after all, Bell is a “man of honor.” I just wonder if Mike Tomlin will have the sand to relegate Bell to that role, or if the Steelers will gradually work Bell back into the mix and pounce on Conner’s first misstep to bench him in favor of 26?
- The Jeff Capel Era at Pitt began Tuesday night with a 69-53 win over Youngstown State. Freshmen guards and prized recruits Trey McGowans and Xavier Johnson combined for 33 points and 8 assists in the win – a very good sign indeed for a rebuilding project.
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