Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Dunlap: Steelers Fans Should Relax

The future is predictable for Steelers anyway

November 28, 2018 - 12:45 pm

First things first -- Steelers fans should relax a little after the loss against Denver. 

Sure, there was the goal line flub at the end of the game. Certainly, the Steelers turned the football over too much and, yes indeed, this is a team that lost to a very beatable Broncos squad. But let's have some perspective on all of this: The Steelers regularly moved the ball up and down the field, controlled possession seemingly at their will (except when handing it over) and are a team that is in the midst of winning six of seven games. 

During those past seven games, the Steelers have averaged 30.57 points.

During those past seven games, the Steelers have averaged giving up 19 points per game. 

That's winning football. 

Did I miss the last month-and-a-half? Is it just me? Or have the Steelers --- on both sides of the football --- been playing some pretty solid football? I seem to think they have been playing decently close to optimal level (outside the Denver game) since they blasted the Falcons at Heinz Field. The buzz not too long ago was whether or not they were among the elite of the AFC. 

But in one, quick flurry it seems as if this fanbase turned very doom and gloom very quickly. It feels like the temperature plummeted among the faithful with the loss at Denver on Sunday. I get it, that's how it works in the week-to-week existence of the National Football League. People who consume their team reach incredible highs one week only to be followed by potential lows the next week. 

But I'm here to tell you something: This is all so predicable. What the Steelers are about to do between now and the end of their season appears incredibly easy to see. 

First, they will finish the season with 10 or 11 wins. That tie against the Browns will come back to haunt them, but they will come down the stretch and beat Oakland and Cincinnati and win one or two of the remaining games against the Chargers, Patriots and Saints. So, again, we are looking at a 10-5-1 or maybe an 11-4-1 team. 

Then follow me here --- the Steelers will get into the playoffs and play a team in the Wild Card round not named the Patriots or Chiefs and get past them. They will find a way, most likely by scoring a ton of points as they can move the chains on anyone, to survive and advance past the opening weekend of the postseason. Our city will hit a euphoria; people will be making silly songs and sending them into radio stations. Some will proclaim the Steelers are peaking at the right time. Will that be accurate? I don't know.  

Then will come that meeting on Jan. 12 or 13 either in New England or Kansas City in the AFC Divisional round of the playoffs. The Steelers will have to go on the road; the Steelers will be underdogs and Ben Roethlisberger will have to throw it all over the yard for them to win. James Conner will have to have a 100-yard game for them to win. Antonio Brown will have to score a couple touchdowns for them to win. And, most important, the defense will have to get a takeaway or two and come up with a timely stop or two in the second-half for the Steelers to win in that game.  

Again, I have no idea what will happen. But that's what will play out. We are looking at a matchup against Kansas City or New England with a trip to the AFC Title game in the balance. Is that a guarantee? Not by any means. But to me, it seems the most likely scenario. 

So while so many others are going to get all bent out of shape about the Denver loss, I'm not too worried. To me, this is all destined for a one-game season at Kansas City or New England at some point anyway.