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30 Scenarios in 30 Days: The Steelers defense will have more takeaways this season

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2024 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp back at Saint Vincent College in order to fine tune their skills. As we here at SCN prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.

It is simple how it works. We provide you the scenario, reasons why it will or won’t happen, and then our prediction for what we think will take place.

Let’s get to the scenario…

Scenario: The Steelers defense will have more takeaways this season (27, t-8th in NFL)

Why it will happen: The Steelers have a quality defense. Just based on that quality means they are a team capable of getting takeaways. Add in the fact the Steelers had 27 takeaways yet had no interceptions from Minkah Fitzpatrick, the ability to improve on this number is sitting right there. Additionally, it’s not that the Steelers lost anyone from their defense from last season who they wanted to keep. So being a unit that returned everyone they wanted and hopefully upgraded in other positions, the capability to exceed 27 turnovers is plausible.

Why it won’t happen: Takeaways are very difficult to predict. While defenses can make them happen, a prolate spheroid can bounce unexpectedly in a different direction. Sometimes the bounces go your way, and sometimes they do not. So even if a player gets a strip sack, the ball just might not bounce in the right place. Beyond the uncertainty of takeaways, it’s not that the Steelers have large room for improvement. Yes, they set a franchise record of 38 takeaways in 2019, but the two seasons prior to 2023 the Steelers had 23 and 22 takeaways while also having 27 takeaways during the 2020 season. Outside of that 2019 season, the last time the Steelers eclipsed 27 takeaways was in 2015 when they had 30.

Prediction: As I said before, predicting takeaways is difficult. While some of these situations are players creating their own magic, many are also a result of the other team’s error. With the Steelers coming in tied for the eighth-most takeaways in 2023, there is some room for improvement but a lot more of a possibility to come towards the middle of the league. So I was all set to disagree with the scenario, I did one last look at the number of turnovers from last season of teams the Steelers face this season. The Steelers have seven games in 2024 against teams who were in the top 10 for most turnovers last year. Cleveland, who is at the top of the list, the Steelers play twice, along with the New York Jets, Washington, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Kansas City. When looking at the bottom of the list of the 10 teams with the fewest turnovers, the Steelers only have three games against those teams with two against Cincinnati and one against Dallas. And even though the number of takeaways the Steelers would generate based on the game averages last year of their opponents this year comes out to 24.5, the fact that so many of their 2024 opponents had a high number of takeaways last year gives me more confidence that they could match this number, or improve upon it, again this season.

Miss a scenario? You can see the full list of scenarios below, and be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for training camp.

30 Scenarios In 30 Days: The Steelers Will Top Their 2023 Sack Total

30 Scenarios In 30 Days: The Steelers Offense Will Have More Turnovers This Season

30 Scenarios In 30 Days: The Steelers Will Go Above And Beyond Their Win-Loss Prediction In 2024


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