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Analyst Thinks Russell Wilson Makes Steelers a Threat in AFC



Russell Wilson Steelers Quarterback

On a recent episode of First Take, former NFL outside linebacker and current ESPN analyst Sam Acho argued that quarterback Russell Wilson is the missing piece to make the Pittsburgh Steelers contenders in the AFC.

“Think about this, even think about (Miles) Killebrew on special teams, one of the best special teams players in the NFL.  Then go to defense, we already talked about T.J. Watt, haven’t mentioned guys like Minkah Fitzpatrick, some of the additions they’ve gotten in free agency as well. And all of a sudden you plug in that quarterback, and then you already have the head coach. It definitely makes Pittsburgh an absolute threat in the AFC, because of all of the pieces they have when it comes to being a complete team — offense, defense, special teams,” Acho said.

Adding Wilson or Justin Fields doesn’t really scream that the Steelers are Super Bowl contenders. The Steelers’ Super Bowl odds went unchanged after signing Wilson and went up just marginally after trading for Fields.

Wilson had his worst season of his career in 2022, recording 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with a passer rating of 84.4. He rebounded in 2023 with a solid season, however, posting a 26-8 touchdown-interception ratio and a 98.0 passer rating. Wilson’s not the same player that he was in Seattle, but his 2023 performance was definitely better than what the Steelers got from their quarterbacks last season. Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph combined for 13 touchdown passes in 2023, tied for second-fewest in the NFL.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have the third-toughest strength of schedule in 2024. However, based on Vegas’ forecasted win totals, the Steelers have the toughest schedule this upcoming season, according to Warren Sharp of Sharp Football.

On paper, the Steelers toughest game in 2024 is against the back-to-back Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Overall, their opponents hold a combined win percentage of .533. Only the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens have a tougher strength of schedule.

In regards to projected win totals, the Steelers will face five teams in 2024 that are forecasted to win 10.5 games or more — Chiefs (11.5), Ravens (11.5), Bengals (10.5), Eagles (10.5) and Cowboys (10.5). The New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons projections are both set at 9.5. The Denver Broncos have the lowest estimated win total (5.5) on the Steelers schedule.