The Pittsburgh Steelers were once a perennial figure in the NFL playoffs, but have not secured a post-season victory since the 2016 season. TJ Watt was outstanding in the 2022 season, winning Defensive Player of the Year, but not even his form could stop a defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wildcard Round of the post-season. Sadly their time in the wilderness looks set to continue as comparison platform OddsChecker, which collates odds from leading bookmakers as well as providing free bet offers, have the Steelers down for a slim chance on bringing home the Vince Lombardi at the end of their 22/23 campaign.
The change in quarterback will put the Steelers defense under pressure after Ben Roethlisberger called time on his career. Mitchell Trubisky is poised to take the starting role, but underwhelmed during his time with the Chicago Bears. It would be a massive surprise to see the Steelers offense rank among the leaders in the NFL, or even the AFC Conference due to the talent surrounding them. The onus will be on defense and on Watt more than ever in the 2022 season. This is necessary to support Trubisky and ease the pressure on the quarterback as he takes the reins of one of the most iconic positions in the NFL.
Watt was nothing short of sensational last season, taking his game to new heights with 22.5 sacks, equaling Michael Strahan’s all time record for sacks in a single season. The 27-year-old was always on hand with game-changing plays, notably equaling the record with a sack of Tyler Huntley in a narrow win over the Baltimore Ravens in the final week of the season. Watt’s actions over the course of the campaign were crucial in edging out narrow victories, which secured a playoff berth for the Steelers, albeit one that ended in an abrupt exit.
Pittsburgh has not been able to rise to the occasion in the post-season of late. Watt managed a sack of Patrick Mahomes in their defeat to the Chiefs, but it was his first in three playoff matches, suggesting that he, just like his team, has had problems in the post-season. The linebacker cannot afford to rest on his laurels during the regular season either, meaning it’s going to be a long hard campaign for him and his teammates on defense.
The retirement of Stephon Tuitt was a blow, as although he missed the 2021 season, his return would have given opposing teams another tough defender to block in the interior to free up space on the edge. However, the arrival of Malik Reed should provide extra legs in the linebacking corps to keep Watt fresh. No matter what impact they have, the Steelers will be looking once more for another stellar year from the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year.