CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora has unveiled predictions for who will make and miss the postseason in 2021, and believes the Pittsburgh Steelers will be on the outside looking in.
La Canfora’s pessimism starts with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the question marks surrounding the Steeler offense.
“Every bit of empirical data and every hour of film review painted a very bleak picture of where this offense was headed with Ben Roethlisberger hanging on by a thread,” La Canfora writes. “Hard to see this ending well, and the offensive line is a shell of what it once was, too.”
While Roethlisberger threw for 3,803 yards and 33 touchdowns a season ago, he displayed a clear decline down the stretch, leading to the Steelers losing five of their last six following an 11-0 start.
They are also trying to fix their run game and rebuild their offensive line simultaneously on the fly. Pittsburgh drafted running back Najee Harris and center Kendrick Green, but will likely start an unproven Chukwuma Okorafor at left tackle.
Not only does La Canfora believe Pittsburgh will miss the playoffs, but he also thinks the club will have a losing record, which would be there first under head coach Mike Tomlin.
“This franchise has staved off a losing season in ways most could only dream of, but this league will eventually pull everyone down, and this roster is not good enough to overcome the shortcomings moving the ball downfield,” La Canfora adds. “I’m getting worried about all the tread on the defensive line as well.”
Could the league punch back on the Steelers and cause the team to regress? It is hard to say in May.
That being said, Pittsburgh has plenty of holes and certainly has their fair share of obstacles in the AFC North, which could be the best division in football.
Pittsburgh snapped a two-year streak without a playoff appearance in 2020, but fell to the Cleveland Browns at home in the Wildcard round.