The Pittsburgh Steelers face a 2022 season without Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback.
Without their veteran quarterback, the Steelers would sign Mitchell Trubisky and draft Kenny Pickett for 2022.
These two will be vying for the starting job in Pittsburgh.
It also means a playoff appearance for the Steelers isn’t automatic.
So, with new leadership at quarterback, what are the realistic expectations for Pittsburgh in 2022?
A 6-11 floor could happen if they have quarterback issues
The Steelers have an interesting schedule for 2022.
Let’s say Mason Rudolph is the starting QB for the Steelers in 2022. What’s the team record based on that schedule? pic.twitter.com/nh7wiGALXP
— Steelers Network (@SteelersNetwork) February 6, 2022
They face six playoff teams, with ten games against teams that were 9-8 or better in 2021.
Two of their division rivals, the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens, failed to break the 9-8 mark last season.
That’s four more games, which they barely won last season.
With the Browns improving at quarterback this offseason, games against them could prove difficult.
However, even though they share the series with the Browns, they have other tough games.
If Trubisky or Pickett can’t make the offense work, the Steelers defense could crumble under the pressure.
If Trubisky or Pickett shine, Steelers could shock with 9-8 record
For the Steelers to get nine wins, they need easy wins over the Panthers, Falcons and Jets.
Wins against the Ravens and Browns as in 2021.
The Steelers will sweep the browns and ravens again next year. #Here we are
– kedon slovis szn 💙💛 (@sportst11027581) May 7, 2022
However, they will also need two more wins against their tougher roster.
The Colts, Saints and Eagles give them the best chance of winning two more games.
With the Dolphins and Raiders bolstering their roster for 2022, they’re unlikely to win those games.
Teams like the Bills, Patriots, Bengals and Buccaneers won’t let the Steelers sneak in a win.
However, for that 9-8 cap, Pittsburgh needs flawless play from Trubisky or Pickett every game.
Otherwise, the Steelers won’t hit that cap in 2022.
Pressure on Steelers defense to keep them in games
With new quarterbacks, Pittsburgh needs a steel curtain as a performance from its defense.
This was in the 1970s when Pittsburgh’s defense was dominating and earning that Steel Curtain moniker.
For 2022, their defense needs to get back to those roots to keep games close.
The pressure is on them to perform, as Trubisky is used to putting his back against the wall.
To keep them out of those traffic jams, the Steelers need to force more turnovers, or at least keep the teams on the field.
However, last season the Steelers ranked 20th overall in defense.
Without improvement, Pittsburgh will see more of a 6-11 record than a 9-8.
Trubisky takes on the burden of winning games
Pittsburgh is a team that is normally in the hunt for the playoffs every season.
However, they had Big Ben to help them make those playoff appearances.
Now Trubisky is stepping in to help keep Pittsburgh a playoff team.
But can he do it with the pressure on him?
He can if coaching stories are the issue behind his mistakes as a quarterback.
He has a great coaching staff in Pittsburgh to help guide him.
If it was training that was holding him back, Steelers coaches can help him shine and have a winning record.