While predictions rarely hold true, the Pittsburgh Steelers should find an easier time in 2023 as the team will face the 11th easiest schedule according to Warren Sharp.
With every season comes the “winners” and “losers” of the scheduling process. Last season, the Steelers were a part of both parties. The team faced the second-toughest schedule based on the opponent’s actual winning percentage but traveled the least amount of miles, never having to leave the Eastern Time Zone.
Last season, the Steelers’ opponents held a winning percentage of 0.519 (148-137-1). Despite this, the Steelers managed to finish with a record of 9-8 while narrowly missing the playoffs.
The metrics that are commonly used by other outlets are different than the metrics used by Sharp and his team. The metrics that Sharp uses are the projected win totals given by the sportsbooks. Sharp’s predictive model is fairly accurate as he predicted the Steelers to have the third toughest schedule in 2022. Other outlets such as CBS Sports predicted that the Steelers would face the 12th toughest schedule in 2022.
Vegas, unlike media outlets, actually factors in a team’s offseason transactions. This differs from other models that mainly look at the previous year’s win totals while disregarding other key information.
According to Sharp, of the 11 toughest scheduled teams last season, only three won more than their projections. The Steelers were one of those teams. The other two teams were the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Jets.
“Trying to exceed and overachieve against a brutal schedule rarely happens (2 out of top 7 in 2022) and likewise, winning against an easy schedule and overachieving compared to expectation was quite regular (only 1 out of top 7 did not),” wrote Sharp.
The Steelers’ opponents for the 2023 season include home games against AFC North rivals Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Cleveland, in addition to welcoming teams such as Arizona, Green Bay, Jacksonville, New England, San Fransisco, and Tennessee.
The Steelers will travel a bit more this upcoming season than last with trips to Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles (Rams), and Seattle. The team will also travel to their rivals in Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Cleveland.
Pittsburgh has a projected win total for the 2023 season of 8.6, according to Sharp.