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The Steelers upcoming schedule could be just what the offense needs

The Pittsburgh Steelers appeared to get their offense headed in the right direction in Week 12 with their first regular-season game of gaining more than 400 yards in over two seasons. Although the Steelers saw a greater output in the yardage department, they were still lacking when it came to points scored despite securing the victory.

As is often the case, there will be those, both members of Steelers’ Nation and otherwise, that will downplay the results. One of the ones I’ve heard the most is, “They were playing a terrible defense.” While this may be true, it doesn’t mean that the Steelers upcoming opponents don’t also fall into the same category.

With the Steeler still yet to face the Cincinnati Bengals one more time this season, they fall under the category of “upcoming opponents.” Let’s take some time to look at the defenses that the Steelers face for the rest of the season. This will be done by looking at the rankings through Week 12 of the 2023 season. The rankings will be as overall defense, which is based on yardage, rushing yards, passing yards, and points surrendered.

Arizona Cardinals:

Overall: 26th
Rushing: 30th
Passing: 15th
Points: 31st

New England Patriots:

Overall: 8th
Rushing: 7th
Passing: 16th
Points: 21st

Indianapolis Colts:

Overall: 24th
Rushing: 26th
Passing: 17th
Points: 27th

Cincinnati Bengals:

Overall: 31st
Rushing: 29th
Passing: 26th
Points: 19th

Seattle Seahawks:

Overall: 23rd
Rushing: 21st
Passing: 22nd
Points: 22nd

Baltimore Ravens:

Overall: 2nd
Rushing: 11th
Passing: 3rd
Points: 2nd

So what can be taken away from these numbers? Although the Cincinnati Bengals might be the worst overall defense in terms of yardage the Steelers have remaining on their schedule, it’s not by a large margin. Four of the Steelers remaining six opponents are ranked 23rd or worse when it comes to yardage.

Obviously the Steelers facing the Baltimore Ravens the last week of the season is a completely different task compared to the other games. A lot can happen between now and Week 18, so that game will continue to be a wildcard. But what about the rest of the defenses?

While New England has the eighth overall defense when it comes to surrendering yards, they’re all the way down to 21st when it comes to surrendering points which many would argue is a more important statistic. If so, the Cincinnati Bengals are actually ranked the highest in points surrendered of the Steelers remaining opponents outside of the Baltimore Ravens.

Believe it or not, the Ravens are not the best run defense the Steelers have left on the schedule as New England is currently ranked 7th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed. The bigger problem with the Patriots isn’t when it comes to yardage but in surrendering points, as well as scoring them.

So what’s the biggest takeaway from these numbers? The Steelers have some favorable matchups to finish out the season in order to get their offense going and stay on the rise.

As the weeks go on, these rankings will obviously change as some teams are on an upper trajectory while others are spiraling downwards. Yes, the Steelers faced a struggling defense in Week 12, but may be facing one who is struggling just the same in Week 13 and gives up many more points per game.

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