The Pittsburgh Steelers are the Most Underrated Team in the NFL

Oct 10, 2011

The Pittsburgh Steelers are just 3-2 this season due to a league-worst -11 turnover margin, which is variance at its best as turnovers (i.e. fumbles) are 90% random in the NFL.  However, based on the statistics alone, the Steelers are once again one of the best teams in football this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers’ Offense:

Pittsburgh is averaging 4.3 yards per rush attempt, 7.6 yards per pass attempt and 6.2 yards per play against teams that combine to allow just 3.8 yards per carry, 6.6 yards per pass and 5.4 yards per play to mediocre offensive squads.  Overall, the Steelers are an impressive 0.5 yards per rush play, 1.0 yards per pass play and 0.8 yards per play better than average offensively this season, which is not indicative of a 3-2 team.  With turnovers likely to even out over the next twelve weeks, look for the Steelers to make a serious push for the playoffs (and potentially Super Bowl).

Pittsburgh Steelers’ Defense:

Pittsburgh is allowing a mere 17.8 points per game this season, including 5.2 yards per pass attempt and 4.9 yards per play to teams that combine to average 22.5 points per game, 6.9 yards per pass play and 5.6 yards per play against mediocre defensive squads.  Overall, the Steelers are a solid 4.7 points per game, 1.7 yards per pass attempt and 0.7 yards per play better than average defensively in 2011, including limiting four of their five opponents to 20 points or less. Moreover, Pittsburgh’s defense has been remarkably good at home where they are limiting opponents to just 8.5 points per game, including 3.1 yards per rush play, 4.8 yards per pass play and 235 total yards (4.3 yards per play).  These defensive numbers suggest that Pittsburgh is a legitimate Super Bowl contender, especially if the Steelers can continue to improve their run defense.

The fact that Pittsburgh is 3-2 despite a league-worst -11 turnover margin suggests that Mike Tomlin’s squad is headed for the post-season, especially if negative variance (i.e. turnovers) declines as expected for the remainder of the regular season.  There is no doubt in my mind that the Steelers remain undervalued in the betting marketplace and should be a ‘play on’ team for the indefinite future.

Jeff Keim

Oskeim Sports Consulting, LLC