The Pittsburgh Steelers will have to deal with circumstances that they haven’t had to worry about in past seasons for the first time in 2022. With the uncertainty of who will be playing at quarterback, there has never been a harder time trying to predict how good the offense will be up until now.
So instead of doing that, it would be best to look at what games this Steelers offense might struggle with the most.
Week 1: Steelers at Bengals / Week 11: Bengals at Steelers
Right out of the gate, it will not be easy for the Steelers offense or the team as a whole to be able to limit the damage of the reigning AFC champions, especially on the road. After getting swept by the Cincinnati Bengals and downright humiliated at times last season, it is easier said than done attempting to get revenge on Cincinnati. This defense features the likes of Trey Hendrickson commanding the defensive line with Von Bell and Jessie Bates commanding the secondary.
The team drafted Daxton Hill at safety to try to upgrade that position, and still have guys like Logan Wilson in the middle at linebacker. Finally, defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo might be one of the best in the league, as he shut down multiple high-profile defenses with his advanced schemes last season. The Steelers might have better success against this defense in Week 11, when whoever is playing QB is settled in and chemistry has developed.
Week 5: Steelers at Bills
The Buffalo Bills defense is arguably one of the best in the league, if not the best. Von Miller, Greg Rousseau and Ed Oliver man three of the four defensive line spots. Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano form one of the most underrated linebacking duos in the league. Tre’Davious White, Jordan Poyer, Micah Hyde and newly drafted corner Kaiir Elam round it out in the secondary. This will be the hardest matchup for the Steelers this season, and after Pittsburgh stole one in Week 1 from the Bills last season, expect Sean McDermott and Josh Allen to be coming back with revenge.
Week 6: Buccaneers at Steelers
This is a team who won the Super Bowl mainly because of their breakout defense a little over two seasons ago. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers still feature all-star linebacker Devin White manning the middle of the field, with Shaquil Barrett, Vita Vea and Akiem Hicks all rushing the quarterback. Antoine Winfield Jr. has been a great asset roaming the field at strong safety, while veteran Logan Ryan replaces Jordan Whitehead at free safety. This game might be more manageable than the week before for the Steelers offense, but it still won’t be easy.
Week 10: Saints at Steelers
Coming off of a Week 9 bye, the rested Steelers will be staying at home to face a New Orleans Saints defense that made some big under-the-radar additions to form a very good defense. Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport still command the edges for New Orleans, with stud linebacker Demario Davis right in the middle of the Saints linebacking unit.
Marshon Lattimore can stay with the best of receivers on the outside of corner, as their secondary received a major upgrade when they signed Tyrann Mathieu to pair with Marcus Maye. Finally, new head coach Dennis Allen has had his footprint on the defense for years. The offense will be the downfall for the Saints in this game, so it will be very important for the Steelers to capitalize when they can.
Week 12: Steelers at Colts
Another underrated defense, but this time the Steelers will be traveling to Indianapolis to face off against these Indianapolis Colts. This team already had a pretty good defense with DeForest Buckner, Darius Leonard and Kwity Paye. They then added one of the best corners in the league in Stephon Gilmore and then traded for Yannick Ngakoue. Kenny Moore II has quietly been a very solid addition at corner for the Colts and should make this team pretty tough to beat.
Week 14: Ravens at Steelers / Week 17: Steelers at Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens killed it in the draft once again, selecting Kyle Hamilton to be a force in their secondary for years to come. Calias Campbell still wreaks havoc in the trenches and Patrick Queen has been a great addition in the middle of the defense, but the Ravens secondary is where it gets ridiculous. Marcus Peters and Marshon Lattimore take the top two corner spots while Marcus Williams pairs with Hamilton. If the Steelers want any chance at making the playoffs this season, one of these last two games against the Ravens has to be won by the offense making plays when necessary.
Week 16: Raiders at Steelers
This is another very tough matchup for the Steelers offense, especially their inexperienced offensive line. The Las Vegas Raiders signed Chandler Jones to pair with Maxx Crosby on the ends of the defensive line. They also traded for Rock Ya-Sin to upgrade at corner and have budding stars in the secondary in Jonathan Abram, Nate Hobbs and Trayvon Mullen, Jr. This will be a crucial game towards the end of the season.
What do you think, #SteelerNation? How will the Steelers offense be able to operate playing some great defenses this season? Who do you think would be able to lead this offense better, Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett? Did I miss any defenses? Let me know in the comments or @anthonyravasio on Twitter.