This should still be looked at as a rebuilding year for the Pittsburgh Steelers. At 2-6, don’t expect this team to end up with a winning record and find a way into the playoffs.

I know, I know. In sports, you don’t rule anything out but let’s just say you could make a Disney movie out of this season if the Steelers bounce back.

However, there are reasons to believe things could get better after the bye week.

While the Steelers refused to fire Matt Canada, offensive changes could come soon as the team hit rock bottom in Week 8 in a 35-13 loss that ended up in Kenny Pickett calling his team out.

On the other side of the ball, game-wrecker T.J. Watt is close to being back to terrorize opposing quarterbacks. If someone can change how good a defense plays, it’s probably the guy who just tied the single-season sack record last year.

But also, midway through the season, it turns out the Steelers have played the toughest schedule in the league. At least according to Football Outsiders.

An analytics-based website, Football Outsiders has built a very insightful efficiency metric referred to as DVOA. Here’s a quick definition of it if you’re unfamiliar.

“Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system breaks down every single NFL play and compares a team’s performance to a league baseline based on situation in order to determine value over average.”

Based on that metric, the website keeps track of which team has had the toughest schedule up to the present and who has the toughest remaining schedule, too.

Here’s where the Steelers rank:

Past schedule: 1st in the NFL (toughest).

Future schedule: 21st.

While things are expected to get “easier” for Pittsburgh, what really matters is how much they improve their own football.

But hey, every bit of help you can get in this league goes a long way.

And while draft positioning concerns some fans, there’s nothing that helps your team for the future than winning some ballgames.

Featured image via Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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