We are officially in full-blown NFL preview season. Thus, let’s take an in-depth look at the Steelers offense, which should provide the necessary firepower to keep pace with Oakland and New England in the AFC. Below, we’ll highlight some individual player projections and offer our own high/low analysis. A big shoutout to Alex from numberFire for providing me with these figures. Seriously, check out their full site here; it’s one of the best sports analytics sites in the business.
numberFire projections: 4,025 yards, 32 touchdowns, 11 interceptions
It should be noted that these figures very likely represent an abridged season, as numberFire wisely took Roethlisberger’s proclivity for minor injuries into consideration.
If, for the sake of argument, Ben manages to play in all 16 games, the yardage projections seem a little under-inflated. He averaged 272 passing yards per game last season, which would have put him at 4,352 yards had he played all 16 games. The year before that, he averaged 328 yards per game, which, extrapolated to a 16-game schedule, would have put him at 5,248 yards (which would have been the third-highest single-season yardage total in NFL history). If we put Ben somewhere right in the middle—which is certainly achievable, given the absurd level of talent surrounding him—he would finish the 2017 season with 4,800 yards.
My prediction: 4,600 yards, 34 touchdowns (a career high!) and 14 interceptions
numberFire projections: 295 carries for 1,389 yards and 10 touchdowns plus 85 catches for 712 yards and three touchdowns
The guys at numberFire clearly do not have much faith in the sustainability of Bell’s historic 2016 campaign in which he averaged over 100 rushing yards and over 50 receiving yards per game. Instead, they opted for a considerably more modest 86 rushing/44 receiving split, which, in fairness to Bell, is still an absurdly productive season.
Essentially, numberFire expects Bell to…