NBC Sports’ Peter King has unveiled his latest power rankings, and believes the Pittsburgh Steelers will take a significant step back in 2022.
While King has the Steelers ranked 23rd, he admits that he is being generous with the pessimistic projecting, adding that they were only placed that high because of head coach Mike Tomlin.
Primarily, King cites uncertainty at the quarterback position as the main reason why he is bearish on Pittsburgh.
“If the coach was anyone but Mike Tomlin, I’d think of the 2022 Steelers in the 5-12 range,” King writes. “They still might be in that neighborhood, because for the first time since training camp 2004, there’s no Ben Roethlisberger, and significant questions about whether Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett can be a good NFL passer.”
King expects running back Najee Harris to take an even greater workload in his sophomore season, but notes that success for the Steelers will be determined by improvement on the defensive side.
“The offense should run through Najee Harris,” King writes. “His 307 carries as a rookie in 2021 could easily graduate to 330 in 2022. For the Steelers to be close to good, the defense will have to be better than 24th in the league in yards allowed. The talent is too good for that, and new coordinator Teryl Austin will be under pressure to make sure it’s a better unit.”
Only the New York Jets (No. 27), Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 29) and Houston Texans (No. 32) are ranked lower among AFC clubs.
King has the Buffalo Bills atop his power rankings, followed by the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs.