The general public is down on the Steelers this year – they missed the playoffs last year, Antonio Brown left in free agency, and LeVeon Bell is now a Jet. But are the losses of AB and LeV Bell really as big as people are making them out to be? LeV Bell didn’t play a single snap last season and James Conner stepped up and had 1,470 yards from scrimmage in his first year as an NFL starter. AB was a cancer to this team last year and he proved that when he voluntarily sat out Week 17 against the Bengals when the Steelers had a chance to make the playoffs. That’s some dysfunctional high school football-level stuff. Juju Smith-Schuster had 111 receptions, 1,426 yards last season and there are worse gameplans than giving him more targets. Vance McDonald is a tough matchup for a lot of safeties in this league and he’ll steal some of ABs targets from last year. James Washington is a wide receiver whose name you’re going to hear a lot this year because of his playmaking ability. The defense returns most of their core from last year and added LB Devin Bush in the draft who is setup to be the replacement for Ryan Shazier that they need.
The record from 2018 says 9-7, but last minute losses to the Saints and Broncos coupled with a controversial 3 point loss to the Chargers where the referees looked like amateurs, and the Steelers could have certainly been an 11-5 team or 12-4 . There are lower expectations for this team and I think that bodes well for them after a number of years of dealing with the pressure of high expectations.
The O/U on the Steelers win total is O9 -120 and I like them to go Over this number as one of my strongest win total bets.
I see 8 spots I’m really confident in them getting wins – vs CIN, vs BAL, vs MIA, at CIN, vs CLE, at ARI, BUF, vs SEA (home opener). Their tougher games are @ NE, @ SF in SF’s home opener, @ LAC (but Chargers have no home edge), vs IND and vs LAR (but they play these during a stretch of 3 straight home games after the bye), @ CLE, @ NYJ, @ BAL. Baltimore is down this year on defense and I don’t trust Lamar Jackson if he has to compete in a high scoring game. If they can go just 3-5 on that list of tough games then 11 wins is not out of the realm of possibilities. Big Ben with less distractions around him and a chip on his shoulder from AB’s comments last year, this is a 10 win team.