ESPN’s staff of writers recently made bold predictions for every NFL team and the prediction they made for the Pittsburgh Steelers isn’t exactly encouraging.

Brooke Pryor, who covers the Steelers for ESPN, predicted that Pittsburgh will win only three games before their bye week in week nine.

From ESPN:

The Steelers will have three wins at the bye week. Not only are the first five games tough, but every game before the bye will be difficult for a new quarterback to navigate. The Steelers have a stout defense, but they’ll be facing the formidable offenses of Tampa Bay, Buffalo, Miami, and Cincinnati. The Browns, Patriots, and Eagles aren’t a walk in the park, either.

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Jan 16, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) reacts during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC Wild Card playoff football game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It’s very possible that Pryor could be correct with her 3-5 prediction for the Steelers to start the season, but I tend to lean toward Pittsburgh getting to the bye week with a 4-4 record.

I think the Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, New England Patriots, and the Miami Dolphins. That leaves them with losses to the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

All of those games are winnable for the Steelers, but I don’t think anyone realistically expects that to happen. However, the fact that all of those games are winnable shows us exactly why it’s so tough to predict what Pittsburgh’s record will be after the first eight games of the season.

If the Steelers somehow get through that stretch at 5-3 or 6-2, then I think the AFC North division title will be very much in play for Pittsburgh.

Featured image via Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports