While the summer season brings much enjoyment to the average person, for an NFL fan, it represents a desolate wasteland where Sundays just aren't quite as vibrant as in the autumn months. However, with each passing day, we inch closer to the beginning of the 2023 NFL season, which officially kicks off on September 8 this year.
Whether you've had your favorite team's tweet notifications turned on all summer or if you've decided to tune out all football news entirely, you'll be able to learn everything you need to know about your team going into the 2022-23 season right here.
In today's article, I'll be discussing the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I'm working on season guidebooks for all 32 NFL teams, which will all be released within the next few weeks. To check out another team's guidebook, click here:
2021 Season Recap
Pittsburgh flew sort of under the radar for most of last season, but knocked off their division rival, Baltimore, in the regular season finale to secure a wild card spot in the postseason. However, they were routed by the Chiefs in the opening round, putting both Pittsburgh's season and QB Ben Roethlisberger's career to an end.
The Steelers were uncharacteristically bad against the run last season and their team stats across the board were less than impressive. With a new quarterback taking over in 2022, it will be essential for Mike Tomlin's defense to take a step forward if they are going to have success.
Significant Roster Moves
You'll see several big names in the "Losses" column from this offseason. Ben Roethlisberger of course retired, but Pittsburgh also lost some key weapons, such as Juju Smith-Schuster, Ray-Ray McCloud, and Eric Ebron. They brought in Mitch Trubisky to compete with Mason Rudolph for the starting quarterback position, and added Myles Jack, Larry Ogunjobi, and Levi Wallace to fill holes on defense, turning primarily to the draft to add some needed offensive skill players.
2022 Draft Class
University of Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett was the only QB taken in the first round this year, and he will be immediately thrown (no pun intended) into the Steelers' QB competition. Receivers George Pickens and Calvin Austin will take on significant roles immediately, and for good measure, Pittsburgh decided to take another QB in the final round.
Though Pickett is currently listed at number two on the depth chart, it will be interesting to see if he works his way into the starting role by September. If not, I assume Trubisky's leash will be relatively short, as the Pittsburgh homers will be eager to see what Pickett is capable of.
The Steelers will take on the AFC East and the NFC South in 2023 to go along with their six divisional games. Their other three opponents are the Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, and Las Vegas Raiders. With an opponent prior season win percentage of .512, Pittsburgh has the 13th hardest schedule in the NFL.
Pittsburgh's primetime games include a Thursday night game at Cleveland, two Sunday night games at Miami and versus Cincinnati, and a Monday night game at Indianapolis. They will also play in primetime on Christmas Eve versus Las Vegas.
The Steelers return 13 of their 22 offensive and defensive starters, which is below average for teams across the league this season. Pittsburgh's anchors on defense, T.J. Watt, Cam Hayward, and Minkah Fitzpatrick are still there, and some of their offseason signings will surely assist in restoring the Steeler defense to its typical strength.
The biggest question mark is obviously at quarterback. All three guys will probably get some some action at some point in the season, so we will see who makes the most of their opportunities and wins the job by the end of the year.
Matt Canada was promoted to Offensive Coordinator in the offseason after spending one season as the Steelers' Quarterbacks Coach. Mike Tomlin enters his 15th season as head coach of the Steelers and the other two coordinator positions are unchanged.
Oddsmakers have set the regular season win total for Pittsburgh at 7 games. As of right now, the Steelers are the least likely team to win the AFC North and the fourth least likely team to win the AFC. At +9000 to win the 2023 Super Bowl, they are tied for 23rd among all teams in the league.
Bucket Squad Predictions
I'm picking Pittsburgh to finish last in the AFC North and toward the bottom of the conference at 7-10. While I think the defense will probably be a little better this season, I don't have faith in any of the guys in the quarterback room to make the Steelers a true contender. Their offense is just too weak in my opinion for them to make a run for the playoffs.
What do you think? Will Pittsburgh be better or worse than I'm projecting? What offseason moves made by the Steelers surprised you the most? Leave a comment down below and be sure to check the "NFL" section of the website for more NFL team guidebooks as I finish them.
Written by Nick Swatson