With six weeks to go in the 2020 NFL regular season, one team is undefeated: Pittsburgh. This begs the question whether or not the Steelers can get through the regular season with a 16-0 record to match the 2007 New England Patriots—or even finish the season as champions without a loss to reach immortality with the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
The latter question is secondary, as it is dependent on the first inquiry: Can the Steelers go 16-0? Using sabermetric tools, here is the way we see it going down over the final six games for Pittsburgh.
- Week 12: The Steelers are home against Baltimore, and Pittsburgh is a five-point favorite with a 68-percent chance to win the game. The Ravens aren’t playing well right now, and the Steelers have more momentum. Perhaps that’s a fallacy, but we’re going to stick with Pittsburgh for this one.
- Week 13: Hosting Washington seems like easy pickings for the Steelers in this one, as they currently are favored by 12.5 points with an 86-percent chance of victory. Chalk it up for Pittsburgh again.
- Week 14: On the road against the Buffalo Bills, this is going to be a tough task for the Steelers. Currently, and a lot can change between now and then, Pittsburgh is favored by 2.5 points with a 59-percent chance to emerge victorious. This one could go either way, and the Bills will bringing their “A” game at home.
- Week 15: If the Steelers get past Buffalo, this will almost be a bye week for Pittsburgh as it goes on the road again—to Cincinnati on Monday Night Football. The Bengals will be mailing it in, as they just lost their starting quarterback for the season. Right now, sabermetrics have the Steelers as 15-point favorites with a 90-percent chance to win this one.
- Week 16: Hosting the competitive and good Indianapolis Colts will be a tough test for Pittsburgh, but we’d expect the Steelers to win this one on their home field. Currently, Pittsburgh is favored by 5 points with a 67-percent shot at a favorable outcome.
- Week 17: If the Steelers reach this point with a 15-0 record, there will be a lot of pressure on the team to beat a rising Cleveland Browns team on the road. It won’t be easy, since these two franchises hate each other. Currently, Pittsburgh is listed as a 5.5-point favorite with a 68-percent chance to beat Cleveland.
So, the odds are not great that the Steelers will go undefeated in the regular season. Pittsburgh has roughly a 15-percent chance to do it, we figure, based on the odds above. Four of these games realistically could be losses for the Steelers: the Ravens, the Bills, the Colts, and the Browns all are legitimate postseason contenders.
Our best guesses? Pittsburgh beats the Ravens, loses to the Bills, beats the Colts, and loses to the Browns as the Steelers rest their starters for the postseason, with a first-round playoff bye already clinched. That leaves Pittsburgh at 14-2 to end the season, with the one legit loss at Buffalo.
We are surprised the mainstream sports “experts” are not discussing this more, and maybe they will tomorrow when Pittsburgh plays on Thanksgiving Day. But when an NFL team reaches 10-0, there is usually a lot more noise about it.