Steelers 2020 schedule: Toughest stretch, opponent preview, key matchups, predictions and more

The standard is still the standard. 

Despite consecutive non-playoff seasons, fans in Pittsburgh are hoping that the 2020 Steelers can add to the franchise’s collection of Vince Lombardi trophies by season’s end. A main reason for Pittsburgh’s optimism is the return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is slated to make a full recovery after missing most of the 2019 season with an elbow injury. The Steelers are also coming off a 2019 season that saw their defense — led by Pro Bowlers Cam Heyward, T.J. Watt, Joe Haden and Minkah Fitzpatrick — blossom into one of the NFL‘s best units. 

If they want to make a Super Bowl run, Pittsburgh will first have to get through a competitive AFC North division that includes the defending two-time division champion Ravens, a Browns squad that is looking to put last year’s disappointment behind them, and a Bengals team that is ushering in the Joe Burrow era. The Steelers had their way with the division from 2014-17, when they won three division titles during that span while going 19-7 against divisional opponents (including the postseason). 

While winning games in the division won’t be easy, the Steelers did receive the second-easiest schedule in the NFL based on last year’s overall winning percentage. William Hill Sports Book has the Steelers’ Over/Under set at 9 games, which should put them in position to snag one of the final playoff spots in the expanded playoff field. William Hill has given the Steelers the second-best odds to win the division, while only four AFC teams (the Chiefs, Ravens, Bills and Patriots) have better odds to represent the conference in Super Bowl LV. 

Below, you can check out my week-by-week breakdown and predictions of every game game on Pittsburgh’s 2020 schedule, including each team’s Over/Under set by William Hill. But first, let’s take a look at several notable takeaways from the Steelers’ schedule as well as pinpointing the toughest part of their upcoming journey. 

Key schedule observations

  • Four home games in a five-game stretch between Weeks 2-6 
  • Three of Steelers’ final four games will be on the road 
  • Four primetime games plus Thanksgiving
  • Week 8 bye
  • Steelers 2019 record of opponents: 95-113

Toughest stretch

Pittsburgh’s Week 3-7 matchups might be its toughest stretch, with four games against 2019 playoff teams and another game against the AFC North rival Browns. Fortunately for the Steelers, three of these games will be at home at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh will also get a well-deserved bye after this stretch before heading to Dallas to face the Cowboys in Week 9. 

The last four games of the Steelers’ schedule includes a couple of “sleeper” games against teams that should give them all they can handle. Playing a night game in frigid Buffalo in December, as Pittsburgh will have to do in Week 14, is never an easy task. Nor is playing in Cincinnati in primetime, which the Steelers will have to do a week after facing the Bills. Pittsburgh when then host what should be a vastly improved Colts team before capping off the regular season with a game in Cleveland that will likely determine playoff positioning. 

On to the predictions:

New York Giants  

Week 1 – Monday, Sept. 14 
Location: MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, New Jersey) 
Time: 8:15 p.m. ET (Monday Night Football) 
2019 record: 4-12
Series record: 44-30-2 (Giants lead) 
Opponent win total: O/U 6.5

The Steelers are 3-1 against the Giants during the Ben Roethlisberger era and 2-0 in games played just outside the Big Apple. The last time these two teams faced was in 2016, when Pittsburgh bested the playoff-bound Giants at home, 24-14. 

New York has undergone a significant roster makeover following that 2016 meeting. The Giants have a new head coach (longtime Patriots assistant Joe Judge) and a new quarterback in Daniel Jones, who enjoyed an encouraging rookie season that saw him throw 24 touchdowns while completing nearly 62% of his passes. The central fixture of the Giants’ offense, however, is third-year running back Saquon Barkley, the former Penn State star who amassed 3,469 all-purpose yards and 23 touchdowns during his first two seasons in New York. 

After finishing 30th in the league in scoring defense last season, the Giants spent seven of their draft picks on the defensive side of the ball. While several of these picks (specifically first-round pick Xavier McKinney) may turn out to be solid players at the next level, they won’t be up the task of facing a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Week 1. Expect a big game from JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is out to put last year’s struggles in the rearview mirror. 

Prediction: Steelers 27, Giants 17 

Denver Broncos  

Week 2 – Sunday, Sept. 20 
Location: Heinz Field (Pittsburgh) 
Time: 1 p.m. ET 
2019 record: 7-9
Series record: 20-11-1 (Broncos lead)  
Opponent win total: O/U 7.5

The Broncos have, more often than not, had the Steelers’ number during Mike Tomlin’s time as Pittsburgh’s head coach. During that time, the Broncos are 5-2 against the Steelers that includes victories in the 2011 and 2015 playoffs. Denver defeated Pittsburgh the last time these two teams played, with a last-minute interception in the end zone sealing the Broncos’ 24-17 win in Week 12 of the 2018 season. That was the first of three consecutive losses for the Steelers, who missed the playoffs after a 7-2-1 start to the season. 

After a 3-8 start, the Broncos finished the 2019 season (Vic Fangio’s first as Denver’s head coach) on a high note, winning four of their final five games to finish just two games under .500. During that time, the team found their longterm solution at quarterback, with Drew Lock — a 2019 second-round pick — winning four of his five starts under center. Denver gave Lock three new receivers during the draft that includes first-round pick Jerry Jeudy and second-round pick KJ Hamler. They will have their work cut out for them in Week 2 against a Pittsburgh secondary that includes All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, former first-round pick Terrell Edmunds, 2019 Pro Bowler Joe Haden and fellow cornerback Steven Nelson

Denver’s potent rushing attack (led by perennial 1,000-yard rusher Phillip Lindsay) as well as their talented, well-coached defense (led by Von Miller) could give Pittsburgh some issues. The Steelers may need a big game from running James Conner, as time of possession may play a significant role in the outcome of this game. 

Conner will look to establish early momentum in 2020 running behind an offensive line that includes left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, right guard David DeCastro and perennial Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey. Pittsburgh’s line will look a little than it has in years past. Matt Feiler is returning for his second season as the team’s starting right tackle, while third year lineman Chukwuma Okorafor and newcomer Stefen Wisniewski will compete to be the starting left guard. 

Prediction: Steelers 17, Broncos 14   

Houston Texans  

Week 3 – Sunday, Sept. 27 
Location: Heinz Field (Pittsburgh)
Time: 1 p.m. ET
2019 record: 10-6
Series record: 4-2 (Steelers lead)
Opponent win total: O/U 8

Pittsburgh struggled against mobile quarterbacks last season, so that will likely be one of the prominent pregame storylines leading into the Steelers’ home game against Deshaun Watson, who ran for seven scores last season while averaging five yards per carry. Watson was also sacked 44 times in 2019, which is a good sign for a Steelers’ defense that led the NFL in sacks last season for a second straight year. 

After finishing 27th in the league in pass defense and 29th against the run last season, Houston used its first two draft picks on defense, selecting TCU defensive lineman Ross Blacklock in the second round and Florida edge rusher Jonathan Greenard in the third round. While these may turn out to be nice additions, they shouldn’t be expected to make too big of an impact early on, especially against an experienced offensive line such as Pittsburgh’s. 

The pregame hype surrounding this game will also center on the Watt family: Houston edge rusher J.J. Watt going against both of his little brothers (T.J. and Derek Watt) in the same NFL game for the first time. Rest assured that T.J. Watt, an All-Pro for the first time in 2019, will be motivated to put on a show in front of his big brother. 

Prediction: Steelers 24, Texans 17 

Tennessee Titans

Week 4 – Sunday, Oct. 4 
Location: Nissan Stadium (Nashville) 
Time: 1 p.m. 
2019 record: 9-7 
Series record: 46-32 (Steelers lead) 
Opponent win total: O/U 8.5

This game will feature teams that battled each other for the AFC’s sixth and final playoff seed in 2019. The Titans, by virtue of their 5-2 record down the stretch, beat out the Steelers for the final spot before upsetting the Patriots and Ravens in the first two rounds. Tennessee’s playoff run was bolstered by running back Derrick Henry, who won his first NFL rushing title last season after gaining 1,540 yards in 15 regular season games. 

While Pittsburgh’s defense (a unit that finished 14th against the run last season) will have to be up to the task against Henry, the Steelers’ defense will also have to be on the lookout for quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who went 9-4 (including the postseason) as the Titans’ starting quarterback in 2019. His favorite target last season was receiver A.J. Brown, who caught eight touchdowns while averaging over 20 yards per catch during his rookie season. Titans quarterbacks were sacked a total of 56 times during the regular season, so expect Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Keith Butler to unleash his pass rushers — that includes Watt and fellow outside linebacker Bud Dupree, who combined to record 26 sacks last season — for this game. 

The Steelers will also look to have success in the air against a Titans’ secondary that finished 24th in the league in pass defense last season. Tennessee’s secondary, which will be without Logan Ryan in 2020, will be tasked with facing a formidable Steelers’ receiving corps that includes Smith-Schuster, second-year wideout Diontae Johnson, third-year veteran James Washington, and second-round pick Chase Claypool, a 6-foot-4, 238-pound target that gives the Steelers a big, physical weapon in the passing game that they have missed in recent seasons. Pittsburgh will also look to showcase new tight end Eric Ebron, who caught 13 touchdown passes for the Colts in 2018. 

Prediction: Steelers 23, Titans 20 

Philadelphia Eagles  

Week 5 – Sunday, Oct. 11
Location: Heinz Field (Pittsburgh) 
Time: 1 p.m. ET 
2019 record: 9-7 
Series record: 48-28-3 (Eagles lead) 
Opponent win total: O/U 9.5

The Steelers were run off the field the last time they faced their in-state rival in Week 3 of the 2016 season. With Carson Wentz making his third career start, the Eagles put 34 points on Steelers while improving to 3-0. Philadelphia would win just four more games that season before putting together a championship season in 2017, Doug Pederson’s second year in the City of Brotherly Love. And while they haven’t reached that level of success during the past two seasons, the Eagles have won 19 games that includes one playoff win since defeating the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. 

The Eagles’ thirst to add to their receiving corps was quenched during the draft, when they used three of their 10 picks on that position. With the 21st pick, Philadelphia selected former TCU receiver Jalen Reagor, a fast, athletic playmaker who caught 22 passes in three seasons with the Horned Frogs. The Eagles’ offense also includes the running back combo of Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard (who combined to amass 1,921 yards and 13 touchdowns last season) and tight end Zach Ertz, who is coming off of his third consecutive Pro Bowl season. 

Pittsburgh’s offense will go up against former Steelers’ defensive lineman Javon Hargrave, who signed a lucrative longterm deal with the Eagles back in March. Hargrave is joining a Philadelphia defense that finished third in the NFL in rushing yards allowed and 11th in yards per carry average allowed in 2019. The Steelers’ offense may decide to turn to their passing game to have success against an Eagles’ defense that finished a pedestrian 19th in the league in passing yards allowed last season.  

Prediction: Eagles 27, Steelers 21 

Cleveland Browns 

First meeting: Week 6 (Heinz Field, Pittsburgh) – Sunday, Oct. 18, 1 p.m. ET
Second meeting: Week 17 (FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland) – Sunday, Jan. 3, 1 p.m. ET 
2019 record: 6-10 
Series Record: 76-59-1 (Steelers lead) 
Opponent win total: O/U 8.5

The Steelers are a whopping 37-6 against the Browns since Cleveland made its return to the NFL in 1999. One of those losses, however, came last season, as the Browns made life miserable for backup quarterback Mason Rudolph in a 21-7 Cleveland victory. The game received national attention after Rudolph and Myles Garrett fought each other during the game’s final seconds. Garrett, who was suspended for the final six games of the season for his role in the fight, was not on the field when the Steelers defeated the Browns two weeks later at Heinz Field. 

Cleveland made significant changes — both on the field and in the front office — during the offseason. The Browns hired Andrew Berry to serve as their new general manager. Cleveland also hired Kevin Stefanski, who previously served as the Vikings‘ offensive coordinator, to be the team’s new head coach. 

On the field, the Browns signed former Falcons tight end Austin Hooper and former Titans offensive tackle Jack Conklin. They also acquired former Raiders safety Karl Joseph, who will provide a veteran presence to a Browns’ secondary that finished seventh in passing yards allowed last season. While third-round pick Jordan Elliott and free agent signing Andrew Billings will help, Cleveland’s run defense, which finished 30th in the league in rushing yards allowed last season, remains a considerably big question mark for the Browns heading into the 2020 season. The other big question mark is whether or not quarterback Baker Mayfield will rebound following a highly disappointing 2019. Mayfield struggled in both games against the Steelers, who sacked him six times while not allowing him to throw for over 200 yards in either game. 

Week 6 Prediction: Steelers, 27-20
Week 17 Prediction: Browns, 20-17

Baltimore Ravens  

First meeting: Week 7 (M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore) – Sunday, Oct. 25, 1 p.m. ET 
Second meeting: Week 12 (Heinz Field, Pittsburgh) – Thursday, Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving Day), 8:20 p.m. ET 
2019 record: 14-2 
Series Record: 28-24 (Steelers lead) 
Opponent win total: O/U 11.5

For the third time since 2011, the Steelers were swept by the rival Ravens in 2019. A fumble by Smith-Schuster helped Baltimore escape with an overtime victory in Pittsburgh in Week 5. On a rain soaked field in Week 17, the Ravens, despite resting a significant amount of starters, rushed for 223 yards in a 28-10 win over the Steelers while officially knowing Pittsburgh out of playoff contention. The Ravens’ season came to an end two weeks later, when they were upset by the Titans in the second round of the playoffs. 

The Ravens made several key acquisitions this offseason. They added former Jaguars‘ All-Pro defensive Calais Campbell along with rookie linebackers Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison as well as defensive lineman Justin Madubuike. Baltimore’s new defenders will join a defense that finished fifth in the league in rushing yards allowed bust just 21st in average yards per carry allowed. 

Baltimore, who set an NFL record for rushing yards last season, also added several pieces to its offense during the draft. It spent a second-round pick on former Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins, who should help take the load off of Mark Ingram and quarterback Lamar Jackson, who last season broke Michael Vick’s NFL record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in the regular season. The Ravens, who needed to add to their receivers room this offseason, eschewed on spending a higher pick on a receiver and instead selected former Texas wideout Devin Duvernay with the 93rd pick. They also added necessary depth to their offensive line with the selections of rookies Tyree Phillips and Ben Bredeson

The Steelers had success (albeit in a losing effort) the first time they faced Jackson as Baltimore’s starting quarterback, forcing him into four turnovers while holding him to 231 total yards in Week 5 of the 2019 season. While the Ravens have given Jackson more pieces to work with since that game, Pittsburgh’s success against the reigning league MVP should give them confidence heading into their games against him in 2020. The question may come down to whether or not the Steelers can score enough points against Baltimore’s formidable defense. This is where the return of Ben Roethlisberger comes into play. 

Week 7 Prediction: Ravens, 20-17
Week 12 Prediction: Steelers, 27-23

Dallas Cowboys  

Week 9 – Sunday, No. 8
Location: AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas) 
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET 
2019 record: 8-8 
Series record: 17-15 (Cowboys lead) 
Opponent win total: O/U 9.5

This matchup pits two teams that have faced each other a record three times in Super Bowl competition. Pittsburgh won the first two matchups (Super Bowls X an XIII) in dramatic fashion before the Cowboys extended a measure of payback by defeating the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. Since their last Super Bowl meeting, the Steelers have won two more Super Bowls while surpassing Dallas’ total of five Lombardi Trophies. Conversely, the Cowboys have not made it back to the Big Game since defeating Pittsburgh to win their fifth Super Bowl and third Lombardi Trophy over a four-year span. 

Pittsburgh’s 8-8 record in 2019 can mostly be justified by the team’s alarming number of injuries. The same can’t be said of the Cowboys, who also went 8-8 after losing four of their last six games by a total of 24 points. The Cowboys’ failure to make the postseason last season ultimately led to a coaching change, as Jason Garrett was replaced by former Packers Super Bowl-winning coach, Mike McCarthy. 

While they didn’t sign any big names in free agency (sans backup quarterback Andy Dalton), the Cowboys were able to lock up receiver Amari Cooper to a longterm deal. They also had a successful draft, acquiring receiver CeeDee Lamb, cornerback Trevon Diggs (who can help replace Byron Jones, who fled for Miami in free agency), defensive lineman Neville Gallimore, center Tyler Biadasz, and defensive end Bradlee Anae

On offense, Big Ben and the Steelers’ passing attack should have success against a Cowboys’ defensive backfield that does not include a single Pro Bowl player. The key will be how well the Steelers do containing Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott, who put on a show while leading Dallas to a thrilling victory over the Steelers back in the 2016 regular season. 

Prediction: Cowboys 31, Steelers 28

Cincinnati Bengals   

First meeting: Week 10 (Heinz Field) – Sunday, Nov. 15, 1 p.m. ET 
Second meeting: Week 15 (Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati) – Monday, Dec. 21 (Monday Night Football), 8:20 p.m. ET 
2019 record: 2-14 
Series Record: 66-35 (Steelers lead) 
Opponent win total: O/U 5.5

Pittsburgh has won 10 straight games against their cross-state rival dating back to the 2015 season. The Bengals came close to defeating the Steelers in Week 12 of the 2019 season before backup quarterback Devlin “Duck” Hodges came off the bench to help lead Pittsburgh to a 16-10 victory. 

Cincinnati, under second year head coach Zac Taylor, will look significantly different in 2020. They used the No. 1 overall pick in the draft to select Ohio native Joe Burrow, who won the Heisman Trophy last season while leading the LSU Tigers to a national championship. The Bengals also selected Clemson receiver Tee Higgins in the second round while adding four new defensive players to their roster during the draft in linebackers Logan Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaither along with Notre Dame defensive end Khalid Kareem

The Bengals, as promised, were active in free agency, acquiring former Vikings cornerbacks Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander, former Texans defensive tackle D.J. Reader, former Texans/Cowboys offensive guard Xavier Su’a-Filo, and former Saints strong safety Vonn Bell. Cincinnati’s new veterans will look to complement the team’s returning starters that include receiver A.J. Green (who was franchise tagged after missing all of the 2019 season with an injury), fellow receivers John Ross and Tyler Boyd, running back Joe Mixon and defensive linemen Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap

While the new additions should help invigorate life into a team that won just two games in 2019, the Bengals, who still have question marks at linebacker and on the offensive line, are probably still a season or two away from truly being ready to challenge the Steelers, Browns and Ravens for the AFC North supremacy. 

Week 10 Prediction: Steelers, 31-9
Week 15 Prediction: Steelers, 24-20

Jacksonville Jaguars  

Week 11 – Sunday, Nov. 22
Location: TIAA Bank Field (Jacksonville)
Time: 1 p.m. ET 
2019 record: 6-10
Series record: 14-12 (Jaguars lead) 
Opponent win total: O/U 4.5

A former AFC Central division foe, the Jaguars renewed their past rivalry with the Steelers this past decade, winning both games against Pittsburgh in 2017 that including a shocking upset win at Heinz Field in the second round of the playoffs. The Steelers somewhat settled the score in 2018, coming from behind to defeat the Jaguars in Jacksonville. The Jaguars’ lack of success the previous two seasons prompted the team to relieve Tom Coughlin, the team’s former VP of Operations, of his duties. The Jaguars also hired Jay Gruden, the Washington Redskins‘ former head coach, to be the team’s new offensive coordinator. 

Jacksonville signed several notable free agents this offseason that include former Browns middle linebacker Joe Schobert, former Bengals Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert, and former Redskins running back Chris Thompson. The team is still in the middle of an ongoing standstill with defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who has expressed his desire to part with the Jaguars over a monetary dispute. 

While they still have several notable returning players in quarterback Gardner Minshew, running back Leonard Fournette, and receiver DJ Chark, the Jaguars will be counting on a slew of new players to play significant roles in 2020. The Jaguars, who had 12 picks in the 2020 draft, are hoping that first rounders C.J. Henderson and K’Lavon Chaisson, second round pick Laviska Shenault and third round pick DaVon Hamilton can provide an instead boost to a Jacksonville team that is looking to get back into playoff contention. While they’re probably a year or two away from being a legitimate playoff contender, the young Jaguars shouldn’t be taken lightly in 2020. 

Prediction: Steelers 23, Jaguars 14 

Washington Redskins 

Week 13 – Sunday, Dec. 6 
Location: Heinz Field (Pittsburgh) 
Time: 1 p.m. ET 
2019 record: 3-13
Series record: 42-33-3 (Redskins lead) 
Opponent win total: O/U 5.5

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who grew up less than three hours away from the Redskins’ home ballpark, is 3-0 against Washington during his time in Pittsburgh. The Steelers, who last defeated Washington in Week 1 of the 2016 season, hasn’t lost to the Redskins since 1991, when Washington was on their way to their third and final Super Bowl win under Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs. 

For the fourth time, the Steelers will face a team with a new head coach. In Washington, former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera will try to bring life to a Redskins franchise that won just 17 games over the previous three seasons. Along with Rivera, the Redskins added veteran coaches Jack Del Rio (defensive coordinator) and Ken Zampese (quarterbacks coach) to their staff. The Redskins also hired new offensive coordinator Scott Turner, who worked in that role on an interim basis in Carolina during the final five games of the 2019 season. 

While 2020 draft picks Chase Young, Antonio Gibson, Saahdiq Charles, and Antonio Gandy-Golden should help make the Redskins a more competitive team, the real question surrounding the Redskins is how big of a jump quarterback Dwayne Haskins can make during his second season. While the Redskins have put him in a position to have more success in 2020, don’t expect Haskins to have too much success against a Steelers defense that finished near the top in most statistical categories a season ago. Washington’s defense, a unit that ranked 27th in points allowed last season, will also have their hands full against a Steelers’ offense that is hoping to return to the form that saw them score a franchise record 53 touchdowns in 2018. 

Prediction: Steelers 30, Redskins 16

Buffalo Bills  

Week 14 – Sunday Dec. 13 
Location: New Era Stadium (Orchard Park, New York) 
Time: 8:20 p.m. (Sunday Night Football) 
2019 record: 10-6 
Series record: 16-10 (Steelers lead) 
Opponent win total: O/U 9

With Tom Brady now in Tampa Bay, the Bills, who defeated the Steelers in Week 15 of the 2019 season, are being widely discussed as the new team to beat in the AFC East. While the Patriots will likely have something to say about that, the Bills should nevertheless be considered a legitimate player as it relates to the AFC teams competing to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LV. 

Buffalo’s success last season was predicated on a tough defense (that finished second in the NFL in points allowed) and an offense that eclipsed over 2,000 yards on the ground. The majority of that damage was done by quarterback Josh Allen and running back Devin Singletary, who combined to rush for 1,285 yards and 11 touchdowns while averaging 4.94 yards per carry. In the draft, they replaced veteran running back Frank Gore with former former Utah running back Zack Moss, who scored 41 touchdowns while averaging 5.7 yards per carry during his college career. Buffalo’s biggest offseason splash came when they traded for receiver Stefon Diggs, who caught 165 passes for 2,152 yards and 15 touchdowns during his last two years with the Vikings. The Bills further addressed their passing game by drafting former UCF receiver Gabriel Davis and former Oregon State wideout Isaiah Hodgins

While they made several significant upgrades to their roster, the Bills did lose three productive players from their defense in defensive ends Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. Lawson and Phillips played key roles in Buffalo’s win in Pittsburgh last season, as the duo combined to record three sacks and four tackles for loss. Their absence for the two teams’ 2020 rematch, along with the return of Roethlisberger, could be enough to sway this game in Pittsburgh’s direction. 

Prediction: Steelers 20, Bills 17

Indianapolis Colts 

Week 16 – Sunday, Dec. 27 
Location: Heinz Field (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 
Time: 1 p.m. ET 
2019 record: 7-9 
Series record: 25-6 (Steelers lead) 
Opponent win total: O/U 9

The Colts haven’t won in Pittsburgh since 1968, when the then-Baltimore Colts went 13-1 during the regular season before being upset by Broadway Joe Namath and the AFL champion Jets in Super Bowl III. The Colts have suffered plenty of heartbreak at the hands of the Steelers, dropping playoff games against Pittsburgh in 1976, 1996 and in 2005. The Colts’ loss to the Steelers in the 2005 playoffs was especially painful, as Indianapolis — the AFC’s No. 1 seed heading into the playoffs — had won a NFL-best 14 games during the regular season. 

Like the Steelers, injuries ravaged the 2019 Colts, who started 5-2 before losing seven of their last nine games. One of those losses came at the hands of the Steelers, who were the beneficiaries of a 96-yard interception return by free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Indianapolis made one of the offseason’s biggest moves when they signed future Hall of Fame quarterback Philip Rivers to a one-year deal. The Colts also signed former Steelers Pro Bowl fullback Roosevelt Nix, who will look to open holes for Marlon Mack and 2020 second-round pick Jonathan Taylor, who rushed for 6,174 yards and 50 touchdowns in three years at Wisconsin. 

Indianapolis also gave Rivers two new receivers in former USC receiver Michael Pittman and former Washington State receiver Dezmon Patmon. The Colts also added a significant piece to their defense with the selection of former Utah safety Julian Blackmon. These additions should make the Colts, a playoff team in 2018, a formidable opponent in 2020. Which team is better able to establish their running game may determine the victor in this late season showdown.  

Prediction: Colts 24, Steelers 21 

Steelers 2020 season projection
Final record: 11-5
Final conference record: 9-3 
Final division record: 4-2 

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