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Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 Season Preview




Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Posted on 9/2/2018.


Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agency Recap


Pittsburgh didn't do much in Free Agency. This team is known for building through the draft. Morgan Burnett was added as a free safety.



Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Recap


The Steelers ignored their biggest need at 3-4 middle linebacker. This was Pittsburgh's worst draft in years. The scary thing is that may not even matter. Pittsburgh may still end up winning Super Bowl 53 despite having one of the worst draft classes in the 2018 NFL Draft. James Washington is the one rookie on this team that could start right away.




Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Summary: Ben Roethlisberger is the starting quarterback on Pittsburgh. Josh Dobbs and Mason Rudolph are backups with Landry Jones getting cut from the team. Randy Fichtner is now the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. He worked with Ben Roethlisberger for many years under Todd Haley even serving as a mediator when Haley and Ben disagreed. I actually believe Fichtner is an upgrade over Haley as the offensive coordinator on the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back Summary: Le'Veon Bell hasn't practiced with the team, but will play during the regular season because he wants more money from Pittsburgh when his contract runs out which is why he turned down an extension with Pittsburgh. Bell is on a holdout again. James Conner could step in if Bell holds out. As long as James Saxson remains the Steelers running backs coach, Pittsburgh will have an effective running game.


Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver Summary: Antonio Brown is the best receiver in the NFL. Pittsburgh also has JuJu Smith-Schuster as a #2 target with Justin Hunter, Darius Heyward-Bey, and James Washington competing to be the slot receiver on Pittsburgh. Offensive coordinator Randy Fitchner who knows how to develop wide receivers, and wide receivers coach Darryl Drake worked with Arizona as their wide receivers coach from 2013-2017.


Pittsburgh Steelers Tight End Summary: Jesse James enters his fourth season as a starting tight end. James Daniel was Pittsburgh's tight ends coach, a year before the Steelers drafted Heath Miller in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft which was a long time ago. My point is with Daniel coaching these tight ends there is continuity there.


Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Line Summary: Pittsburgh has Alejandro Villanueva at left tackle, Ramon Foster at left guard, Maurkice Pouncey at center, David DeCastro at right guard, and Marcus Gilbert at right tackle. Chukwuma Okorafor is a solid backup to Villanueva at left tackle. Mike Munchak returns as the teams offensive line coach so I expect Pittsburgh to continue to buy into his zone blocking scheme. This team has gotten so much better in pass protection since Munchak arrived.


The Steelers are a team that could be a top 5 offense in points scored, total yards allowed, passing yards allowed, and rushing yards allowed.



Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Line Summary: Pittsburgh has Stephon Tuitt at 3-4 right end and Cameron Heyward at 3-4 left end. Javon Hargrave is the Steelers starting nose tackle.


John Mitchell is the Steelers defensive line coach. He's also the assistant head coach making him interim head coach if Mike Tomlin got fired during the regular season.


Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker Summary: The Steelers have quite the depth at 3-4 outside linebacker. T.J. Watt is the teams starting 3-4 right outside linebacker. Bud Dupree starts at 3-4 left outside linebacker with Arthur Moats as a backup for depth. Vince Williams and Tyler Matakevich are the starting 3-4 middle linebackers on Pittsburgh with Ryan Shazier injured once again. Keith Butler developed both outside linebackers and inside linebackers for years before succeeding Dick LeBeau as defensive coordinator. Now Joey Porter is succeeding Butler learning from him as a former player and linebacker coach on the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Backs Summary: Pittsburgh has Joe Haden as the #1 field cornerback with Artie Burns at the boundary across from him. Cameron Sutton is expected to play the nickel cornerback role. The safety tandem of Sean Davis and Morgan Burnett is effective. Carnell Lake continues to mentor these guys so this can be a good group when healthy. You also got other cornerbacks for depth like Coty Sensebaugh at the dime, Mike Hilton at quarter cornerback.


Pittsburgh should be a top 15 defense in sacks. If Watt and Dupree hit double digit sacks then this can be a top 5 defense. I see a team that will have a top 5 defense in points allowed and passing yards allowed. Their run defense could end up being a middle of the pack unit without Ryan Shazier.



Pittsburgh Steelers Special Teams Summary: Kicker Chris Boswell and punter Jordan Berry did a good job stepping in for Pittsburgh. JuJu Smith-Schuster is the kick returner on Pittsburgh's depth chart with Antonio Brown being the punt returner. Danny Smith continues to thrive as a special teams coordinator. His last two seasons as special teams coordinator have been nothing short of spectacular.




Pittsburgh Steelers Worst Case Scenario: The Pittsburgh Steelers go 10-6. They end up getting the final AFC wild card spot and fail to win the AFC North Divsion.


Pittsburgh Steelers Best Case Scenario: Pittsburgh manages to go 12-4. They end up finally beating the New England Patriots and representing the AFC in Super Bowl 53.


Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 NFL Schedule


Week
Date
Opponent
Time
Cable Network
Result
Week 1
September 9
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 2
September 16
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 3
September 24
AT
8:15 PM EST
ESPN
W
Week 4
September 30
VS
8:20 PM EST
NBC
W
Week 5
October 7
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 6
October 14
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 7
Bye Week
Week 8
October 28
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 9
November 4
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 10
November 18
AT
8:20 PM EST
NBC
L
Week 11
November 15
VS
8:25 PM EST
NBC
L
Week 12
November 25
AT
4:25 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 13
December 2
VS
8:30 PM EST
ESPN
W
Week 14
December 9
AT
8:20 PM EST
NBC
W
Week 15
December 16
VS
4:25 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 16
December 23
AT
4:25 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 17
December 31
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W


Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 Projected Record (12-4): This is Pittsburgh's best team in quite some time. The Steelers finally have more consistency on the offensive line then the Patriots. The only question is do they have the discipline to finally put everything together in 2018. I think they do.


I have the Steelers winning this division at 12-4. Baltimore went 9-7 and missed out on the final wild card due to the Jimmy Smith suspension.


Cincinatti is a team I have projected at 7-9 finishing with a losing record. Cleveland will make quite an improvement as well going from 0-16 to 6-10.


I have Pittsburgh beating New England and the Jaguars in Jacksonville in the AFC Championship game. Once the Steelers go on a run where they beat two teams they've had trouble with in the playoffs, that will be what cements Ben Roethlsiberger's legacy as a Hall Of Fame quarterback. Plus getting revenge on Aaron Rodgers for Super Bowl 45 is pretty sweet too.


I am a Patriots fan in real life. However, the professional sports writer in me thinks the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to the Super Bowl. I also have them finally winning a seventh Super Bowl this season.









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