2019 was rough year for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
- They missed the playoffs for the second straight year.
- They lost their hall of fame quarterback in week two.
- James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster battled injuries all year.
- They went 0-3 for the first time since 2000.
- Stephon Tuitt went down week 6 and was placed on IR.
- They lost to the Cleveland Browns for the first time since 2014.
While 2019 was an absolutely down year, there were some positives. The Steelers’ defense becoming a threat again, the rookies stepped up, and Mike Tomlin almost got them to the playoffs.
2020 is a promising year for the Steelers.
Here are some bold predictions for the 2020 Steeler season.
James Conner will be replaced by Anthony McFarland Jr. by seasons end.
I don’t wish injury upon anybody, especially someone who has been injured before. Conner is very excited about the 2020 season and he looks hungrier than ever. I think Conner will have a monster first few weeks and then he will get hurt at some point. Enter McFarland Jr. The Steelers drafted him for a reason and his play style is a much-needed change for the franchise. McFarland’s ability to break off big runs is going to keep him on the field and eventually win him the starting position.
Again, I hope I am dead wrong with this prediction.
Ben Roethlisberger wins comeback player of the year and passes for 4,000 yards.
Roethlisberger has thrown for 4000+ yards six times in his career. 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2018. In his first full year without Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, Roethlisberger will prove he was the top ‘B’ in the killer B’s. Throwing for 4000 yards means that all of the young receiving core will need to show up, which is very plausible.
Eric Ebron will lead the team in touchdowns
Ebron has the chance to totally rejuvenate his career. While he is still relatively young at 27 years old, he is with his third team. In 2018, there was an argument that he was the best tight end with 750 yards and 13 touchdowns. The only player who scored more receiving touchdowns that year was Antonio Brown. However, 2018 was the only year he scored double digit touchdowns. He has stated in interviews that he is feeling the best he has ever felt, which is very good to hear. Ebron will develop a good relationship with Roethisberger and be his quick dump off receiver which will lead to numerous touchdowns.
Steelers will go 1-1 with Ravens and will win the AFC North.
There is no doubt the Baltimore Ravens are one of the best teams in the NFL right now. Every single year Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore are the games to circle on the calendar. The Steelers took the Ravens to overtime in week five last year and only lost because of a Smith-Schuster fumble. The Steelers and Ravens will play on Thanksgiving this year which will be a fascinating game and the Steelers have a good prime time record. Roethlisberger’s return to the field will allow Pittsburgh to become a top 10 offense again and with most of their defense returning, the Steelers will be back in business. The Steelers will adapt their defensive to stop Lamar Jackson and will take the division.
T.J. Watt will win defensive player of the year.
There is another huge argument that Watt should have won the award last year. Watt finished his 16-game season with 55 combined tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and two interceptions. He finished third in the voting last year behind the winner Stephon Gilmore and Chandler Jones. Watt is an impact player and will become a player that offensives must always watch. Watt will continue the magic he has last season and win defensive player of the year.