Colin Cowherd is back on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ train. Following comments he made last month about picking his 2023 playoff teams, Cowherd was back on the airwaves explaining why he’s picking the Steelers to return to the postseason.
As shared via his Herd Twitter account, Cowherd said he’s giving the slight edge to Pittsburgh over Baltimore when it comes to the playoff race. Though he says it’ll come down to the very end.
“I think the Ravens and Steelers comes down to the last weekend,” Cowherd said, referring to the team’s Week 18 matchup.
His reasoning was similar to comments he made the last time he went through the exercise. Pittsburgh’s clear improvement following the bye, going 7-2, and Cowherd also gave the Steelers edge when it comes to health over the Ravens. While the Steelers had their injury issues with T.J. Watt last season, the Ravens have been a walking wounded team for years to the point they fired their controversial Strength & Conditioning Coach Steve Saunders earlier this year. Perhaps that’ll help them reach the finish line.
To be fair, Cowherd’s exercise intentionally picks a new batch of playoff teams given the NFL’s track record of yearly turnover; typically, there’s 4-7 teams that didn’t make the playoffs a year earlier who make it the following year. That probably helps push Pittsburgh over Baltimore, the Ravens making the postseason in 2022 before being painfully bounced in an AFC Wild Card game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“They played great football over their last nine games,” Cowherd said.
Pittsburgh will look to carry that over into 2023 on the backs of a stronger and more efficient running game and defense that should be fierce across its front seven. But the AFC is as competitive as ever and you could argue all four AFC North teams could capture a playoff berth.
Predicting a photo finish for the postseason is reasonable. Last season, Pittsburgh’s playoffs came down to Week 18, needing a win and some help to get in. They took care of business, beating the Browns, but didn’t get what they needed from Joe Flacco’s Jets, falling to the Miami Dolphins in the final 30 seconds. In 2021, Pittsburgh’s season came down to not only the final week but the final play of the regular season. The Steelers beat the Ravens in overtime and needed a Daniel Carlson overtime field goal to avoid a tie between the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers, making Pittsburgh the 7th seed.
In addition to removing the Ravens, Cowherd also took the Los Angeles Chargers out of the playoff picture, putting in the Denver Broncos instead in a vote of confidence in Sean Payton’s direction.