The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a 2017 season that ended in disappointment. The Steelers won their second straight AFC North title with a 13-3 record. Their best regular-season mark since they 15-1 back in 2004.

Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned in the playoffs. Pittsburgh received a first round bye and would play the Jaguars at home to advance to the AFC Championship Game. Jacksonville came out and landed a haymaker early on, taking a 21-0 lead less than 20 minutes into the game.

The Steelers would make a game of it, but ultimately would fall 42-45. Given how bad the Patriots looked in the Super Bowl, you have to think Pittsburgh would have had a great shot to make the big game had they taken care of the Jaguars at home.

Typically Pittsburgh is pretty quiet in the off-season and for the most part they have held to form. However, they did make some noise in the Draft, trading up in the 3rd round to take Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, just 16 picks after they used a 2nd round selection on Oklahoma State wide out James Washington.

Rudolph was taken as a project to hopefully be the replacement for Ben Roethlisberger down the road. Washington on the other hand could play a big role right away, as the Steelers traded away wide out Martavius Bryant.

Aside from backup tackle Chris Hubbard signing with the Browns, most of the other big changes will come on defense. Pittsburgh signed Jon Bostic away from the Colts to help fill the void left by Ryan Shazier (ruled out for 2018). They also cut corner William Gay, as well as safeties Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden. They signed veteran safety Morgan Burnett and used their 1st round pick on Virginia Tech safety Terrell Edmaunds, as well as a 5th rounder on Marcus Allen out of Penn State.

Have the Steelers done enough to take that next step and reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 2010? That’s tough to say, but they are certainly one of the most talented teams in the AFC. I know for Pittsburgh fans it’s Super Bowl or bust going into 2018.

2018 Steelers Schedule & Projected Odds

Here’s a look at Pittsburgh’s schedule for the 2018 season. The odds listed are from the early lines that are released by the sportsbooks. The only exception is Week 17, where they don’t put out early odds. That is simply what I think the line would be right now if the oddsmakers did set a number.

We use these early odds to generate how likely it is a team to win each game and combine them to get an expected win total for 2018. As you can see our projections call for just under 10.5 wins.

WeekOpponentEst. OddsWins
1at Browns-70.75
2Chiefs-70.75
3at Buccaneers MNF-40.66
4Ravens SNF-60.71
5Falcons-40.66
6at Bengals-40.66
7BYEBYEBYE
8Browns-10.50.86
9at RavensPK0.50
10Panthers TNF-6.50.72
11at Jaguars SNF-10.51
12at Broncos-30.59
13Chargers-4.50.67
14at Raiders SNF-3.50.64
15Patriots-10.51
16at Saints+10.49
17Bengals-7.50.78

Projected Wins: 10.47

Over/Under Wins Prediction: UNDER 10.5

If I was going to play the Steelers win total, I would have to side with the UNDER 10.5 wins. I know the Steelers won 13 games last year and have most of the core coming back. I just think this team was really fortunate in close games. Pittsburgh was 8-2 during the regular-season in games decided by 6-points or less.

The AFC North isn’t the toughest division in the NFL, but there’s also no easy wins inside the division. Two of their close-calls last year were against the Browns, who should be improved. They also go from playing the AFC South and NFC North to playing the AFC West and NFC South. In my opinion a much-tougher slate.

The other big thing for me is I still have my concerns with the defense being good enough without Shazier. There was a clear drop-off in production once he was lost to injury last year. He’s not going to play a single snap this year. No disrespect to Bostic, but he’s no where close to the player of Shazier.

There’s also likely going to be another star that gets hurt and you have the drama with running back Le’Veon Bell and his holdout for a new contract. I’m not saying the Steelers won win 11+ games, I just think there’s a greater chance they finish with 10 or less.

Odds to Win the Super Bowl: +1100

The Steelers have the 4th best odds to win the title this year at +1100 (11 to 1), behind only the Patriots (+600), Eagles (+850) and Rams (+900).

Unfortunately because Pittsburgh has such a great track record and are a big public team, there’s usually not a ton of value with their future odds. At the same time, they have only made it past the Division Round once in the last seven years. That was in 2016 and they lost by 36-17 to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

With that said, I don’t think it’s a horrible bet to take the Steelers at this price if you really like them to win it all. Just not one that has me excited right now. I would much rather hold off and hope to get better odds at some point during the season.

Odds to Win the AFC: +450

I think it’s the same thing here with the Steelers odds to win the AFC. There’s just not a ton of value at this price. They are being priced like they are hands down the second best team in the AFC.

New England has the best odds at +260 and the Jaguars have the 3rd best odds all the way back at +900. I just don’t think there’s as big a gap from Pittsburgh to the likes of Jacksonville, Houston, Kansas City and Los Angeles.

Odds to Win the AFC North:  -260

Given the state of the Ravens, Bengals and Browns, it’s hard to picture an outcome where Pittsburgh doesn’t win the division. Baltimore figures to be only team that has a realistic shot at overtaking the Steelers, but it also feels like a long-shot.

Injuries and suspensions are the two big concerns that you have to be worried about. The other thing is you have to risk a lot to win a little. Just for a chance to win a mere $100 you would have to lay down $260.