The Steelers cruised to an easy AFC North title in 2017. Here are five bold predictions on how Pittsburgh’s season will go in 2018.
Not many NFL franchises managed to win their division by six games last year, but that’s just what happened for the Steelers. That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again for Mike Tomlin’s team this year. If the Steelers are going to repeat, count on a lot of surprises happening along the way.
The biggest change the franchise underwent this summer was a significant change in offensive coordinators. Todd Haley’s rollercoaster relationship with Ben Roethlisberger is over. Now Randy Fichtner is at the helm. Don’t expect to see a ton of changes on the field, but Pittsburgh hopes they’ll have a more harmonious locker room.
That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen though. There will be ups and downs for this franchise just like everyone else. If they’re going to make a deep run into the playoffs, they’re going to need some players to outperform expectations. We start our bold predictions with a discussion about the team’s most talented offensive player.
5. Le’Veon Bell will go over 1,500 yards rushing
There’s a lot of noise about Bell’s attempt to get a long-term contract from the team. It’s possible those tense negotiations will lead to the talented running back missing a significant amount of the preseason. It won’t matter, he’s still going to have a massive season.
Last year Bell racked up 1,291 yards rushing, but he it was the least efficient season of his career. He only averaged 4 yards per carry. That’s a significant dip from the 4.9 yards per carry he averaged during 2015 and 2016.
That’s obviously a massive difference. Expect Bell to pick things up this year. The Steelers still have a ton of weapons in the passing game that can open up things for the run. More importantly, Bell knows he needs to put up huge numbers to get a big money contract from some team next season. Count on Bell to go over 1,500 yards on the ground. He might even do so with ease.