The 2022 NFL season might be the year one of football’s most impressive streaks finally comes to an end. The Pittsburgh Steelers have finished at .500 or better in each of the last 18 seasons. In order to keep the streak alive, the Steelers will have to overcome some pretty steep odds set by one sportsbook.
BetMGM has released regular season win totals for all 32 teams in the NFL. The oddsmakers list the Steelers’ 2022 regular season win total at 7.5 with the over (-120) taking some juice. And for a team that has been a staple in the postseason, having made the playoffs in 12 of the last 18 seasons, BetMGM sees Pittsburgh as a +300 longshot to make the field in ’22.
The Steelers are turning over a new leaf at the quarterback position as Ben Roethlisberger announced his retirement after 18 seasons with the franchise. Head coach Mike Tomlin will decide between first-round pick Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky, and Mason Rudolph for the starting job.
Mike Tomlin says Kenny Pickett has a chance to start Week One for the Steelers.— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) April 30, 2022
Pittsburgh’s problems ran much deeper than a decrepit and immobile Big Ben last season. The offensive line was one of the worst units in the league, which doesn’t make things easy on a team with a run-first identity on offense.
While running behind an offensive line that struggled to create many holes, RB Najee Harris showed the NFL why he might be the game’s best young ball carrier. Harris finished second in the league in carries (302), totaling 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Harris added 467 receiving yards on 74 catches, giving him the biggest workload of any running back in football.
In an attempt to patch up the offensive line, Pittsburgh signed C Mason Cole and OG James Daniels this offseason. Both interior offensive linemen figure to step in and start for the Steelers this season.
The Steelers’ offense looks to take a step forward though the unit will have to fill the void WR JuJu Smith-Schuster left behind after he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. Pittsburgh drafted WR George Pickens out of Georgia in the second round, joining WR Chase Claypool and TE Pat Freiermuth as the Steelers’ top pass catching options.
If the Steelers are to win at least eight games in the upcoming season it will be due to the defense. T.J. Watt is coming off of a 22.5-sack season, tying the single season mark set by Michael Strahan in 2001.
#Steelers OLB TJ Watt is the winner of the 2021 AP Defensive Player of the Year. Watt tied Michael Strahan's single-season sack record with 22.5 sacks – and he did it in just 15 games. A historic season ends with a well-deserved honor.— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) February 11, 2022
After leading the NFL in sacks one year ago, the Steelers added LB Myles Jack to pair with Devin Bush to strengthen the middle of the defense. Pittsburgh is also returning the safety tandem of Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick who look to bounce back after a down season in ’21.
The Steelers will have their hands full in a loaded AFC North as the division has vastly improved over the last two seasons. Starting over at quarterback is rarely a smooth transition which makes finding eight wins all the more difficult on an ultra-competitive 2022 schedule for Pittsburgh.
Featured image via Charles LeClaire – USA TODAY Sports