Predicting the Steelers’ moves week by week

Written By Anthony Cugini, For The Globe

With the start of the 2021 NFL season a day away, I’m sure a lot of people are looking forward to another year of Steeler football. Despite all of the changes made, the Steelers still look to compete for another Super Bowl. With optimism surrounding this team, expectations seem to be high. Here are my season predictions for our beloved Steelers.

Week 1: Bills 24, Steelers 17
I don’t see how the Steelers win this game. Bills quarterback, Josh Allen, is coming off the best season of his career. Chances are he’s only going to get better. Buffalo’s pass offense is going to be too much for the Steelers new secondary. I think Pittsburgh is going to keep it close, but it’s not going to be enough.

Week 2: Steelers 27, Raiders 14
In week 2, the Steelers will bounce back against Las Vegas. The Raiders aren’t a bad team, but there’s not one position the Raiders have that is better than Pittsburgh’s. Derek Carr is a good quarterback, but he’s not quite good enough to dominate against a defense like Pittsburgh. Las Vegas’ defense is trending in the right direction, but they’re not going to be able to handle Najee Harris. Look out for Harris to have his first great game as a Steeler. I don’t see it being a blowout, but the Steelers are going to get their first win of the season.

Week 3: Steelers 38, Bengals 10
Let’s be honest. The Cincinnati Bengals are a bad team. There are a lot of questions surrounding Joe Burrow and how he’ll play after returning from an injury as serious as a torn ACL. They’ve added former Steeler Mike Hilton to the defensive side of the ball, but their defense still looks very questionable. With this in mind, the Steelers are going to take full advantage of these weaknesses. They’ll pressure Burrow as much as possible to throw him off his game. Chances are Ben throws at least three touchdowns against that weak Cincinnati secondary.

Week 4: Steelers 28, Packers 24
In a rematch of Super Bowl XLV, the Steelers flip the script. This game has all the makings of a great one. With a quarterback matchup of Aaron Rodgers versus Ben Roethlisberger, it’s a must watch. With a quarterback as good as Rodgers, Green Bay is going to put up some points. Not to mention some of the weapons he has with running back Aaron Jones and wide receiver Davante Adams. On the other side of the ball is where they’re going to lose most of their games. Jaire Alexander is arguably the best cornerback in the league. Other than that, there isn’t much to talk about for the Packers defense. I think it’s a close one but the Steelers will come out on top.

Week 5: Broncos 14, Steelers 13
This is going to be one of the cases where the Steelers play down to their competition. The Broncos have just enough good players on both sides of the ball that they’ll be able to overperform some weeks. This will be one of those games. Denver has a lot of sneaky good guys like wide receivers such as KJ Hamler and Courtland Sutton. The Broncos will surprise the Steelers and hand them their first loss since week one.

Week 6: Seahawks 24, Steelers 10
Pittsburgh will never have a chance to win this game. Russell Wilson and Seattle will come out of the gate firing. They’ll score on their first drive and never look back. The Steelers will struggle offensively as well. Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner will dominate against the inexperienced offensive line. This will amount to another loss for the Steelers.

Week 7: BYE Week

Week 8: Steelers 31, Browns 21
The Steelers get their revenge. After the Browns knocked out Pittsburgh in last year’s playoffs, a lot of people’s views of Cleveland changed. They went from a team everyone felt bad for to a heated rival in the AFC North. The game will be close for the first three quarters. I see Pittsburgh pulling away in the fourth quarter. Expect there to be a lot of turnovers as well. It will be a questionable win for Pittsburgh, but a win nonetheless.

Week 9: Steelers 17, Bears 10
The Steelers come through with back to back wins in a key part of the season. It’s getting to the point when each game means a little bit more than the last. Chicago’s defense is good. I think the Steelers’ is better. It will be more of a defensive game and because of this the Steelers will come out on top.

Week 10: Steelers 35, Lions 7
I’m not saying the Lions should be taken lightly, but if you’re going to take anyone lightly it should be Detroit. They’re in rebuild mode which means they’re going to lose a lot of games. The Steelers will take care of the worst team in the NFC pretty easily. It’s always possible they could play down to their competition, but I don’t see it happening here.

Week 11: Steelers 42, Chargers 38
This one will be fun. Chargers quarterback, Justin Herbert, is a force to be reckoned with. Coming off of a year where he won Rookie of the Year, he’ll only improve. Him and Keenan Allen will prove to be a deadly duo if they haven’t already. Expect a big game out of rookie Najee Harris too. Other than defensive end Joey Bosa, the Chargers don’t have a lot to stop the run. It’ll be a high scoring affair where the Steelers will come out on top.

Week 12: Bengals 21, Steelers 13
The Steelers will lose to the Bengals. I think the Bengals will start to figure things out around this time of the season. Joe Burrow will come into his own, and the defense will improve as well. The Steelers will also play down to their opponent, which will equal an extremely disappointing loss.

Week 13: Steelers 28, Ravens 17
The Steelers finally get to play their biggest rivals: the Ravens. Not only will the Steelers be up to the occasion, but they’ll win convincingly. It won’t be a blowout, but they’ll score first and never give up the lead. The defense will once again shut down quarterback Lamar Jackson. Chances are he’ll turn the ball over a couple times as he always does against Pittsburgh. The Steelers will come away with a big win at home against Baltimore.

Week 14: Vikings 38, Steelers 31
The Vikings’ offense will just be too much for Pittbsurgh. The Minnesota passing game will dominate. Wide receivers Adam Theilen and Justin Jefferson will have a field day against the Steeler secondary. The offense will do enough to keep the game close, but they’ll never be able to overtake the Vikings.

Week 15: Titans 24, Steelers 21
The Steelers beat the Titans last year thanks to a missed field goal by Stephen Gostkowski. Ironically, I’m predicting Gostkowski is the reason the Steelers lose this game. Ryan Tannehill and Derek Henry will lead the Titans on a game winning drive in the final moments of the game. It will come down to a field goal to win it. Gostkowski lines up for the kick. He then drills it to redeem himself and give the Titans a big win in Pittsburgh.

Week 16: Chiefs 45, Steelers 17
Let’s be honest. Patrick Mahomes is too good. The Chiefs offense will dominate against the Steelers and send Pittsburgh back home defeated and embarrassed. It will be hard for the Steelers to find any positives out of this one.

Week 17: Steelers 31, Browns 13
This one will feel good. After getting crushed by the Chiefs, expect the Steelers to come back hungry to prove themselves against the Browns. Cleveland will never stand a chance. The Steelers will come out of the gate firing. Roethlisberger will have a huge day. Expect at least 350 yards out of the Pittsburgh quarterback. The Steelers will get a much needed win as they’ll beat up on the Browns.

Week 18: Steelers 28, Ravens 7
This will be a much needed win for the Steelers. The Ravens will have the division locked up by this point, so they’ll be resting most of their starters. Pittsburgh will take advantage of this and win pretty easily. The Steelers will take down the Baltimore back ups to finish out the season.

I’m predicting the Steelers to finish the season 10-7. This will be enough for Pittsburgh to sneak into a Wild Card spot. Whether or not they’ll make it far in the playoffs will remain unknown. I’ll save those predictions for another time.