We’re still five months away from rosters being set for the 2021 NFL season, but you can get a pretty good idea of how Las Vegas perceives each team via its over/under season win total. (Those totals were recently updated to reflect the adoption of the 17-game regular season.)
Using DraftKings a barometer, the over/under for the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers is currently set at 8.5 wins. Looking at the over/under win totals for the other teams in the AFC North, it’s clear that Las Vegas currently views the Steelers as the third-best team in the division.
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Over/Under for Wins (AFC North)
Here are the over/under win totals for the four teams in the AFC North, per DraftKings:
1. Baltimore Ravens 11.0
2. Cleveland Browns 9.5
3. Pittsburgh Steelers 8.5
4. Cincinnati Bengals 6.5
The Steelers Will Play the Toughest Schedule in the NFL
One of the challenges facing the Steelers is that they face the hardest schedule in the NFL in 2021, with an opponent’s win percentage of .563 (before the addition of the Seattle Seahawks as a 17th opponent). This as compared to last year, when they had the second-easiest schedule in the league entering the 2020 campaign.
In addition to playing a pair of games against each of the team’s divisional rivals, the Steelers also face all four clubs in the NFC North, as well as all the teams in the AFC West. By virtue of being the AFC North champions in 2020, the Steelers also get dates with the first-place teams in the AFC South (Tennessee Titans) and AFC East (Buffalo Bills). The “extra” opponent is the first-place team in NFC West, the Seahawks, who finished 12-4 last season in what was arguably the strongest division in football.
That means the Steelers will play only three teams—the Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions—who won fewer than seven games in 2020. This with a defense that has lost the services of numerous key players, including starting cornerback Steven Nelson, slot cornerback Mike Hilton and outside linebacker Bud Dupree, among others.
Meanwhile, there are major question marks all over the offense, with running back and left tackle among the biggest holes at this moment in time. Never mind that the Steelers must replace perennial Pro Bowler Maurkice Pouncey at center, who was placed on the Reserve/Retired list at the beginning of March after announcing his retirement in mid-February.
Yet the Steelers don’t have an especially enviable amount of draft capital available to address needs, having been awarded just one compensatory pick this year.
Following are the slots in which Pittsburgh is currently slated to select:
Round 1: No. 24 overall
Round 2: No. 55 overall
Round 3: No. 87 overall
Round 4: No. 128 overall, No. 140 overall (compensatory pick)
Round 5: No selection
Round 6: No. 216 overall
Round 7: No. 245 overall and No. 254 overall
Pittsburgh lacks a selection in the fifth round, having traded its pick to the Baltimore Ravens for defensive lineman Chris Wormley, who was recently re-signed to a two-year contract. The Ravens have since traded that selection to the Minnesota Vikings.
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