The Pittsburgh Steelers have missed the playoffs for a second straight year, but it’s hard to blame anyone for how their 2019 season panned out. The team was forced to trade one of the best receivers in the game in Antonio Brown, lost Ben Roethlisberger to a season-ending elbow injury, and got a poor year from running back James Conner.
Despite all this, Pittsburgh entered Week 17 with a shot to make the postseason. The roster will need some work, but the Steelers still have the means to become a playoff team again soon.
Roethlisberger has made it clear he fully intends to work toward recovering for the 2020 season, but if the rehabilitation from his elbow injury doesn’t go well we can’t see the Steelers being successful. It’s doubtful that Devlin Hodges, Mason Rudolph, or Paxton Lynch will ever become long-term solutions at quarterback. Pittsburgh needs a new signal caller in the mix, and it has to make doing that a priority this offseason.
Do the Steelers have a legitimate No. 1 receiver? This was a question quite a few posed after Antonio Brown was dealt to the Raiders, but the quarterback situation matters here, too. Even if JuJu Smith-Schuster only hasn’t played as many games as usual, being outpaced by James Washington and Diontae Johnson in receiving yards isn’t a good look for him. An injury-plagued backfield makes the team’s need for an elite pass catcher even more evident.
The 2019 NFL season is coming to a close and while the playoffs are just arriving, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2020. We won’t know the full regular season schedule until April, but even with the 2019 season not finished, we know each team’s list of opponents. The NFL has a formula they use to determine opponents, with divisions and conferences rotating each year.
The Steelers face their divisional opponents a total of six times. The AFC North faces the AFC South, which adds four more opponents. The AFC North faces the NFC East, which adds four more opponents. The final two opponents are the teams that finish in the same standing position in the AFC West and AFC East.