The Pittsburgh Steelers looked strong at 2020’s halfway point and then collapsed down the stretch. Which defense will show up in 2021?
The Steelers are the first team on this list the Chiefs did not play against in 2020, with the teams last playing in the 2018 regular season. These two not matching up may have been for the best in 2020.
To start 2020, the Steelers led nearly every pass-rushing metric or statistic you can think of. Saying that team caused havoc for opponents is an understatement.
At one point, the 2020 Steelers were on pace to pass the 1984 Chicago Bears regular-season sack record. During a season where the Chiefs’ pass protection was suspect at best, not seeing this dominant defense was a blessing.
The team as a whole fell off a cliff during 2020 though. After starting the season 11-0, Pittsburgh proceeded to finish the season 12-4. Going 1-4 to enter the postseason is not ideal, and led to the Cleveland Browns quickly disposing of the Steelers in the Wild Card Round.
The Steelers are still a defensive threat, as many of the same players return for Pittsburgh. Free-agent signing Melvin Ingram can add another pass-rushing threat, if he stays healthy, opposite T.J.Watt. The return of linebacker Devin Bush is key as well, as he recovers from an ACL injury that ended his 2020 season. Pittsburgh’s secondary is good enough, but was rarely exposed because of the exceptional pass rush.
The Steelers pose a threat to the Chiefs not for their pass coverage but if they can get to Mahomes consistently. Look for the improved offensive line to be really tested against this Steelers unit last in the season.