Slowly but surely, the Pittsburgh Steelers are moving back up towards some respectability within the NFL media power rankings.
Fresh off of a 24-17 win on Monday Night Football on the road against the Indianapolis Colts, the Steelers moved up one spot in Around the NFL writer Dan Hanzus’ Week 13 power rankings for NFL.com, which was released Tuesday morning.
Previously, the Steelers fluctuated between No. 25 and No. 28 in recent weeks, but on Tuesday, the Steelers slid up to No. 24 overall in the power rankings, passing the likes of the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons, who happen to be their next opponent. Though the Steelers are still in the bottom half of the league overall in the power rankings, things were rather promising in the Monday Night Football win over the Colts.
“The Steelers might not make the playoffs, but this season will still feel like a success if they come out of 2022 confident that Kenny Pickett is their quarterback of the future,” Hanzus writes regarding the Steelers’ ranking at No. 24 overall. “The first-round pick is on track to do just that after a solid performance in Monday night’s 24-17 win over the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. After the Colts scored 14 unanswered points to take the lead in the third quarter, Pickett orchestrated an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive punctuated by a pretty 2-point conversion pass to George Pickens to finish the scoring. Fun fact: The Steelers are 12-1 in their last 13 appearances on Monday Night Football.”
While the Steelers currently sit at 4-7 and are largely on the outside looking in on the playoff picture and the AFC North division title race in general, it’s hard to not feel good about the trajectory of the Steelers in the second half of the season overall.
Against the Colts on Monday Night Football, Pickett played the best game of his young NFL career. Though he again had some misses on some key throws, he was able to consistently make plays, especially on the 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that Hanzus highlighted.
Along with his impressive stats, not turnover-worthy plays and a strong command of the offense down the stretch, Pickett recorded a career-high grade from Pro Football Focus in the win, earning an elite grade of 88.5 on the night.
After some early struggles after being inserted into the lineup at halftime of the Week 4 loss to the New York Jets, Pickett used the Week 9 bye week to his advantage, resetting and getting more comfortable in the offensive scheme, which has led to some strong play in the last three weeks.
He hasn’t thrown an interception in more than 100 pass attempts and hasn’t turned the ball over at all while moving the Steelers’ offense up and down the field in recent weeks. Slowly but surely, we’re starting to see signs of serious growth from the first-round quarterback, which is all anyone wanted to see once he was inserted into the lineup.