Steel City Underground

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell
steelers.com

The regular season is over.

Thankfully, that doesn’t mean the end of football for the Steelers, as they are beginning the postseason with a bye week and moving straight to the divisional round of the playoffs. A bye week for the Steelers also means a bye week for us here at SCU, right?

Nah.

Instead, it’s a time to look back on what we thought this season was going to turn out to be, and what it ended up being. For me, that means taking a gander at an article I wrote in the preseason with my “Bold” predictions for the upcoming season. I got a couple right, and I missed badly on a few, but let’s take a look at what I prognosticated, and what actually happened.

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Steelers end up 14 -2

Each preseason I break the schedule down into 4 quarters and try and guess how the Steelers will do. I had the Steelers going 14 and 2 overall. Of course, as we all know, baring Al Riveron deciding that there was a rule of some kind that states that Steelers players cannot win games in the last seconds against the Patriots (JESSE MADE THE CATCH!) they actually would have been 14-2.

But they weren’t. 13-3 was the final record. Now, I had the Steelers losing to Baltimore in Baltimore, and losing in week 17 to Cleveland. That wasn’t how they tallied their losses of course. Instead, they lost to Chicago (a game I predicted they would win in a close contest 23-14) and they lost to Jacksonville, and, as I just mentioned, lost to Al Riveron.

The Baltimore game I can forgive myself for. They hadn’t won in Baltimore in a long time, and in my game prediction, I said I think they should win, but I couldn’t pick them based on history.

I did expect Landry to start the Cleveland game, and also thought there was a chance that the Browns were going to be a better team than they were, and I in no way anticipated JuJu being the dynamic player he has become. I may have underestimated the GOAT (of backups) because I figured he wouldn’t be able to pull the game out, but he did.

Steelers win the AFC North

Well, they did. I did say this was my “least” bold of the predictions. There really wasn’t much question that the Steelers would win the North. What surprised me was that they swept the North (I had them going 4-2).

I’ve said all along this team is just too talented to allow one of the other teams to win. I think I also predicted that only 1 team from the AFC North would be in the playoffs. That was a bit closer, but thanks to the Bengals last-second heroics, Baltimore failed to make the postseason again.

I’m counting this one as a prediction that I nailed.

Steelers sweep the NFC North

I missed by one game. Stupid Bears. I really should have known. This is what I said as I was looking ahead to the Bears game:

There is the potential for one of those early season flops, and they could be looking ahead to playing Baltimore the following week.

It was a close game, going into overtime and the Steelers just were flat. But I hit on the other three as the Steelers did beat the Packers, Vikings, and Lions.

Still, I have to call this one a miss.

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Steelers set a franchise mark for points scored

30 points. That’s how far away they were. 436 was the record, and the Steelers managed to score 406.

To be fair, I was way off. I didn’t just predict they would break this record, I predicted they would shatter it. Here’s what I said then:

Based on my season projections, I am predicting the Steelers don’t just break that record, but shatter it. How does 556 points sound? That total would tie for the second-most points ever scored in a single season. I’d like to go back and boost some of my lower estimates so I can predict the Steelers steal the lead away from the Patriots, but I’m trying to be at least somewhat reasonable.

The truth is that I expected Martavis Bryant to be much more impactful early on. It just didn’t happen. Bryant was a non-factor for the majority of the early part of the season, and the Steelers weren’t able to top the 30 point mark until week 11 when they put up 40 against the Titans.

This isn’t just a miss, it’s a big huge whiff.

Steelers average more than 30 points per game

Not surprisingly having missed on the previous prediction, I was far off on this one as well. I actually predicted the Steelers would average 34.5 points per game. They ended up averaging 25.4.

Swing and a miss!

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Steelers are the best road team in the league

REDEMPTION!

I have to say that I was dead on here. The Steelers ended the season 7-1 on the road. That ends them in a 3-way tie for the best road record in the league (the Patriots and Rams were also both 7-1). It does help that Steelers Nation is everywhere. The game in Houston was reminiscent of the game in San Diego with more terrible towels whirling than anyone probably expected.

While I had the one loss being to Baltimore (and it was actually Chicago), the final record of 7-1 matches my prediction. It’s a hit!

Steelers are number one seed in AFC

Damn you Al Riveron. Damn you to hell!

You know, I would have hit on the final record and this prediction as well if not for Al Riveron. Say it with my Nation – The Refs Stink.

The Steelers, of course, are not the top seed, but rather the second seed. That is the reality. It doesn’t matter that the facts (and the gosh darn replay) show that they should be 14-2 and the top seed.

JESSE MADE THE CATCH!

Conclusion

It may seem that I was overly optimistic about the 2017 season. I had reason to be:

Why am I so optimistic about this upcoming season? It’s simple – this offense (barring injury or suspension) is just too crazy good.

As the season wound down, they actually did start to come closer to my prediction of points per game than they were (31.3 points per game over their last 7 games).

The defense ended up a top 10 unit, even with losing Ryan Shazier. Can they hold it together to make a Super Bowl run? It will be fun to find out.





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