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Adjustments the Steelers Need to Make to Improve their 2019-2020 Season

December 5, 2019
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Adjustments the Steelers Need to Make to Improve their 2019-2020 Season

Place Bets on Whether the Steelers can Turn Around their 2019-2020 Season

The Steelers have been around for a long old time (since 1933, in fact), and with a dodgy start to the 2019-2020 season, they may well be dreaming back to glory days of yesteryear. That said, the current season is only four games in so there is time to turn things around. But it may not be easy.

Current State of Play

The standings, at the time of writing, in AFC North have the Steelers with three losses in four games, with only Cincinnati Bengals doing worse (four straight losses). That sounds bleak, but there is a little bit of a silver lining. Despite a 75% loss rate, the teams ahead (Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns) are both on a pair of wins and losses. Whilst the Steelers’ start has been far from what they’d want, the mountain they have to climb is not insurmountable.

Morale in the team should’ve been boosted by ending a three match losing streak and thumping Cincinnati Bengals 27-3. It may have been particularly sweet for the team after beginning the game by losing the first quarter 3-0, then going on to dominate and crush their opposition. On a historical note, this extended the Steelers’ winning streak over the Bengals to a total of nine, the longest in franchise history. But one swallow does not make a summer.

Steelers Online Betting Odds

This is borne out by the current market on betting exchange Betfair, which has the Ravens and Browns roughly evens, and the Steelers at about 7/1 to be the AFC North winner (pity the Bengals, who are at the rather lengthier odds of 64/1). If you’re excited at the prospect of betting, then to avoid the risks and increase your chances of walking away a winner, you should make use of no deposit, free spins and deposit bonuses. You’ll be surprised at the amount of money you can both wager and win for free. This also includes match deposit bonuses so your bets can go much farther than they otherwise would for the same money.

Wildcat Revival?

Coach Mike Tomlin described the Wildcat formation as gimmicky, but if it is, it’s a gimmick that helped the Steelers to knock the stuffing out of the Cincinnati Bengals to claim a much-needed first win of the 2019-2020 season. The unexpected approach was something the opposition was unprepared for and, therefore, didn’t know how to handle (hence the 3-0 Bengals first quarter lead turning into a 27-3 defeat for the side).

Is this going to be the mainstay of the Steelers going forward? It’s very unlikely, though the formation could make the odd appearance as circumstances dictate. Tomlin himself alluded to this, indicating that the approach he adopts will fit the available players and the situation in a given game.

One major upside is that the flexibility shown led to a change in fortunes. Being versatile against different opposition and amending plans to take account of what the available players are capable of is essential in any team sport (particularly one where injuries can happen often). McDonald will hopefully be back from injury soon and help to open up options, with quarterback Mason Rudolph planning on making sweet success a regular taste.

That last point shouldn’t be underestimated. Defeat and victory can easily become habits, as can the grit and self-belief that comes with having hard fought wins under your belt. Sadly for them, the Bengals are pretty much the whipping boys of AFC North, and the Steelers need to push on from this by taking the fight to the Ravens and Browns and turning a two-way tussle into a three-way fight.

Near Term Games

In October, the Steelers are scheduled to play the Ravens, LA Chargers, and Miami Dolphins, with the Indianapolis Colts, LA Rams, Browns, and Bengals set for November. Whilst Pittsburgh’s finest won’t be able to top the season after those games, they will be able to throw it away if they don’t at least stay in touch with their rivals. The end of November should see another win against the Bengals, but those encounters (especially with the Ravens and Browns) will be critical to see if the team are still in the hunt.

The good news for the team is that the Dolphins are on a four game losing streak, and the Chargers are on two wins and losses apiece to date, as are the Colts. The Rams, however, have three wins to one defeat and are battling hard in a very competitive NFC West division.

They say in motorsport that you can’t win a race at the first corner, but you can certainly lose it. The next set of fixtures have some (hopefully) easy wins for the Steelers but they need to maintain their current positive momentum and beat some good teams, otherwise they’ll find their rivals have gotten too far ahead.

Going Forward

Nobody would argue that the running backs were anything other than ruthlessly effective against Cincinnati, but the same might not be said about the wide receivers on the team. Against the Bengals, that frankly didn’t matter, but aside from them it’s very competitive in AFC North and every part of the team needs to be firing on all cylinders if the Steelers want to end up on top.

There are two ways to improve the situation: sharpen up the players, or get new ones. If the Steelers go for new wide receivers there are a few available, including Ryan Grant and Jordan Matthews. The fact that things are tight between the Ravens and Browns has helped the Steelers stay fairly close to them, but if they don’t improve and start beating those teams they’ll be left in a No Man’s Land, ahead of the Bengals but not in contention at the sharp end.

There’s also been some suggestions that Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler should be tossed overboard, with some fans less than delighted with Butler (and, for that matter, Tomlin). Whilst there’s little to complain about with the latest result, a galling 24-20 loss to the 49ers and 28-26 loss to the Seahawks does indicate that just a bit more grit, a bit more resilience could’ve made all the difference to the Steelers’ early season standing. If those games had been just 8 points different, the Steelers would be topping AFC North right now. But then, if wishes were fishes…

A positive note to end on: quarterback Mason Rudolph and running backs Jaylen Samuels and James Conner had a great game, adapting to the Wildcat formation to lead the Steelers to a crushing win, and their first of the current season. And there’s no better place to start a comeback than with a great first win.

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