Steelers 2020 Betting Record
Point Spread: 10-7
Total: Over-Under: 8-7-2
For the first three-quarters of the season, the Steelers were sports betting darlings. They started the year 11-0 and 8-3 ATS. Coach Mike Tomlin’s squad certainly looked like they could make some noise come playoff time. But, things came crashing back down to earth quickly starting in Week 13.
The Steelers blew a lead on Monday Night Football to the Washington Football Team and their season fell apart from that point on. Including the playoffs, they ended up winning just one of their last six games. Pittsburgh bowed out of the playoffs in the Wild Card round unceremoniously and certainly has work to do in the offseason. QB Ben Roethlisberger’s playing years are numbered and his window to add a third Super Bowl title is quickly closing.
Right out of the gates, the Steelers managed to pick up four wins in a row. The competition wasn’t the strongest but their 3-1 ATS record reflected their consistency. The defense looked particularly strong, forcing seven turnovers in the first quarter of the season.
Roethlisberger’s 17th season started off excellently as he threw 10 TD passes and just one interception through four games. Rookie WR Chase Claypool had a historic game in Week 4 against the Eagles as he scored four touchdowns. So far so good for the Steelers.
Point Spread: 3-1
Total: Over-Under: 3-1
They had a considerably tougher schedule during this period with matchups with the upstart Browns and the formidable Titans and Ravens. Yet, they passed each test here with flying colors and improved to 8-0. Pittsburgh’s defense continued to shine as it allowed just 18.5 points per game during this stretch. It also managed four takeaways in the Week 8 win against Baltimore.
The Steelers improved their ATS record to 6-2 and appeared to be Super Bowl contenders. Their Super Bowl odds were second only to the Chiefs after Week 9 as they were listed at +550, down from +2500 at the beginning of the season. Despite their record and the hype surrounding the team, not everything was going perfectly.
The running game looked a bit stagnant and they didn’t break 100 rushing yards in any of these games. But, it was certainly hard to argue with the results. Pittsburgh’s average margin of victory of 9.2 points per game was third in the league and it was the only undefeated team remaining.
Point Spread: 3-1
Total: Over-Under: 1-2-1
The Steelers started off the second half of the season with a 36-10 blowout victory against the Bengals to improve to 9-0. The next week, they beat the Jaguars 27-3 to make it ten wins without a loss. Strangely, they had managed 400 yards just once on their ten-game win streak. They were 21st in the NFL in yards and 24th in yards per play yet stood at 10-0.
Pittsburgh’s defense certainly carried it up to this point. The Steelers were allowing the fourth-fewest yards in the league and the fewest points per game which made up for an offense that was starting to look a bit lackluster despite the results, especially after putting up 19 points against the Ravens and 17 against Washington. The Steelers offensive woes were on full display in Week 13 as they scored just three points in the second half against Washington and lost for the first time in the 2020 season. Washington was the first team to expose the Steelers, but they certainly wouldn’t be the last.
Point Spread: 2-2
Total: Over-Under: 0-3-1
Not only did the run game continue to struggle in Pittsburgh’s next two games, but the offense completely fell apart. In consecutive losses to the Bills and Bengals, the Steelers totaled under 250 yards in both games. On its three-game losing streak, the Steelers were averaging just 17 points and hadn’t scored over 20 in four straight games. Pittsburgh’s 11-0 start began to look fluky as teams figured them out.
Roethlisberger couldn’t air the ball out like he used to and the Steeler’s short passing game became predictable. Plus, the running game presented almost a non-existent threat as the Steelers finished the regular season dead last in the NFL in rushing yards per game and rushing yards per play. The Steelers managed to beat the Colts in Week 16, clinching the AFC North for the first time since 2017. But, they entered the playoffs with just one win in their last five games as they fell to the Browns in the season finale.
Point Spread: 2-2
Total: Over-Under: 3-1
Divisional Record: 4-2
Conference Record: 9-3
The Steelers were slated to play the Browns for the second time in as many weeks and for the third time in the 2020-2021 season. One might think they had the advantage over the Browns as Pittsburgh had rested multiple players in Week 17, while the Browns had needed to go all out to clinch a playoff berth and won by just two points. Cleveland was in the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and expectations were certainly not very high. The Browns hadn’t won a road playoff game since 1969 for starters.
But, the Steelers allowed more than 30 points for the first time all year, including 28 in the first quarter, as the Browns made history and won 48-37. Additionally, Roethlisberger threw four interceptions and the Steelers turned the ball over five times for the first time all year. The Steelers’ early exit from the playoffs was certainly emblematic of their troubling late-season collapse. It seems like a miracle that Tomlin and his Steelers team were able to win 12 games in the first place.
Full Season Grade: B+
Here is a perfect illustration of Pittsburgh’s season:
The Steelers Season: pic.twitter.com/L9dt3kvVBz
— NFL MEMES (@memesofnfl) January 11, 2021
Looking Ahead to Next Season
The Steelers run game needs work for sure. Their blocking, play-calling, and running back play simply wasn’t good enough, it’s inexcusable for a playoff-caliber team to finish dead last in rushing. They could use a tight end, offensive line, and running back upgrades. RB James Conner is a fan-favorite but it might be time to move on from the back who hasn’t managed to surpass 1000 yards in his four seasons with the team. Nine-time Pro Bowl C Maurkice Pouncey called it quits on his 11-year NFL career, so the Steelers have big shoes to fill.
The Steelers led the league in sacks and interceptions in 2020 and have a formidable secondary. LB T.J. Watt led the team with 15 sacks and established himself as the leader of an excellent Pittsburgh defense. Pittsburgh allowed the third-fewest points, yards and had the fourth-most takeaways on the season. The defense should be solid once again in 2021 but Pittsburgh’s progress rests on offensive moves during the offseason.
Bookmakers obviously aren’t of the mind that the Steelers will be able to fix what they need to, giving them just +2800 odds to win the Super Bowl next season.