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Way-Too-Early Season Prediction for the 2023 Pittsburgh Steelers

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The 2023 NFL season is just 100 days away and the excitement is already brewing. The NFL’s 32 teams are all gearing up for OTAs or have already started them. The Pittsburgh Steelers are getting ready for an important season that means a lot to many players. Some players, especially rookies or younger guys from recent draft classes, are looking to have prove-it years and take big steps. Others, like many of the veterans, are looking to have a productive, winning year.

Whatever the case is, the Steelers will have to play as a team for 17 games. Last year, they went 9-8 and just barely missed out on a playoff berth; but many believe they have the tools to become a playoff team this season. Let’s take a look at how the Steelers season should go — or might go — depending on how things play out.

Way Too Early Season Prediction: 2023 Pittsburgh Steelers

An NFL season seems so long but so short at the same time. You only get 17 games through a span of about four months, but the season can also feel very long in that span. Winning and losing streaks will make or break an NFL team’s season, but every single game is as important as the next. The Steelers 2023 schedule can be segmented into four parts with pretty evenly split games.  Nevertheless, it will be important for the Steelers to stay strong throughout the whole year and to take every game seriously no matter who the opponent is. The Steelers will have six divisional games that are pretty much bunched together, leaving little room or time for error. 

Each split-up of games will be explained and some basic predictions will be made. It’s hard to say how each individual game will go, given that anything can happen in any given week. But, an overall prediction for the bunch of games is much more realistic as long as it’s based on how teams are currently viewed. As of now, the Steelers look to be between a 9-11 win team but could very well fall short of that mark.

Early Trials Leading To Bye Week

The Steelers will start off the year with a couple of tests but also a couple of smooth rides. The team starts their season off at home against the 49ers, and this game could honestly go either way. Both teams are loaded with stars but will both be struggling to find offensive identities early. The 49ers are dealing with a young quarterback controversy in which both options are returning from injury. This game could be troubling for both teams if things aren’t figured out.

Pittsburgh will have another early test with a home prime-time game against the Cleveland Browns. This will not be an easy game for either team (as divisional games rarely are). I can’t tell you which game(s) the Steelers will win but I believe they’ll take at least one of their two opening games.

Pittsburgh will next travel to Las Vegas and Houston to take on the Raiders and Texans, respectively. Both teams will likely be at the bottom of their divisions this year, making a couple of easier matchups for Pittsburgh. But, these teams could both be tests, and the Steelers have not fared very well recently against the Raiders even if they finish worse than Pittsburgh. Before their early Week 6 bye, the Steelers wrap up their early stretch with a home game against the Ravens. I would expect Pittsburgh to take at least two of these games, and I think they have a good shot to take all three.

Depending on how the offense comes together, the Steelers could be:

2-3: if the offense struggles early

3-2: most logical prediction

4-1: best case scenario

Post-Bye Week, Out-Of-Division Games Can Build Early Confidence

After the Week 6 bye, the Steelers play four straight non-divisional games that will potentially help build their record. They’ll open with an away showdown against the Rams in Los Angeles, who don’t look too good this year. The Steelers will not easily win this game though, because cross-country travel can be difficult for any team. Pittsburgh will then return home for three straight games at Acrisure Stadium.

They’ll take on two AFC South foes (Jaguars and Titans) before taking on the Green Bay Packers. The Jags are coming off of an AFC South title and both the Titans and Packers are trying out some new methods as they try to figure themselves out on offense. This stretch could be very winnable for the Steelers and it’s likely that they at least split this segment of the year.

I think they take three of four games but an argument can be made that the Steelers only win two of them. Regardless, it looks like the Steelers will be sitting fine before the long and crucial part of the year.

At this point: 6-3 record seems the most logical

Could also be: 5-4 but any higher/lower just doesn’t seem right

Roller-Coaster Stretch Will Make or Break Season

Before taking on three teams that they should beat, the Steelers will have two tough divisional games before Thanksgiving. The team will depart from their three-game homestand to Cleveland and Cincinnati in back-to-back, away, divisional games. These games will be tough, especially the matchup with the explosive Bengals on the road. Pittsburgh will be lucky to take one game from this quick two-game tough stretch.

Next, they will have three straight games that are very winnable; this stretch from Weeks 13-15 seems like the easiest of the year. They will have home games against the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots and an away game against the Indianapolis Colts. The Cardinals and Colts are two teams who will almost certainly be bottom-feeders and the Steelers shouldn’t have a problem with them. Despite this up-and-down stretch, I would expect the Steelers to again go 3-2 in this five-game segment. 

With that, their record looks to sit around 9-5 or 8-6 at this point.

Final Games Will Determine Playoff Status, Potential Seeding

With a decent, winning record, the Steelers look to their final three games over the holidays before the playoffs start. They will have a home game against the Bengals on Christmas Eve eve before heading to Seattle and Baltimore for the final two games. All three of these teams should be in the playoffs or should be close to qualifying, giving the Steelers three truly tough tests. As much as I want to believe in this team, I don’t think they win more than one game in this season-closing stretch. I would expect the team to finish either 9-8 again or 10-7 this year. Should they notch that 10-7 record, it should be enough to get them in the playoffs as a lower seed.

So What Does This All Mean?

This team has some rather moderate expectations and I would expect them to finish with a winning record. Depending on how they do in some toss-up or divisional games, this team could either be below average,  among one of the AFC’s best, or a lower-seeded playoff team. You can always guarantee a Steelers football season will be filled with close-to-average play and plenty of both joy and heartbreak because it’s simply the Steeler Way.

Main Image: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports


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