Former Pittsburgh Steelers LB Ryan Shazier feels like the 2023 Steelers are going to surprise some people. Shazier was a guest on the Second Wind Podcast, and he was asked his thoughts on the team. Shazier believes that Kenny Pickett is underrated and the Steelers will win at least 10 games.
“Kenny [Pickett], to everybody in the league, they didn’t watch the 12 games that Kenny played. They didn’t see his growth,” Shazier said. “I just don’t see the Steelers being the worst team in the division. A lot of people just don’t see it right now. I think they can win 10 or 11 games, maybe 12. I think that they’re gonna mess around and catch a lot of people by surprise at the end of the season.”
He also said that he believes Pickett can take a “huge jump” during his second season in the league.
The Steelers remain a divisive team heading into 2023, with a lot of pundits thinking they’ll finish in last in the AFC North and others thinking they’ll compete at the top of the division. Shazier knows the organization’s culture inside and out, but as a former player he’s also someone who might higher on the team than the general public.
But 10 wins is right around what I expect for the Steelers, and it should be a reasonable expectation to meet. Pittsburgh has its most complete roster in years, and Pickett should improve from his rookie season. Couple that with an offensive line that got better with the additions of Isaac Seumalo and Broderick Jones, and Najee Harris should be in line for a career season.
The problem is going to be the strength of the AFC North, with six of Pittsburgh’s games coming against divisional opponents. If they don’t finish at least .500 against their own division, they won’t be a 10-win team and will struggle to push for the playoffs. Traditionally though, even with weaker rosters, Pittsburgh has been able to compete within the division and stay competitive.
With a roster as talented as theirs currently is, the Steelers really should be a playoff team. We won’t really know until the season kicks off, but given their talent and schedule, it’s hard to envision this team not being in the playoff race until the very end of the regular season. While Shazier saying that they could be a 12-win team might be a little bold, there’s no question this team has the talent and is capable of reaching double-digit wins.