Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Pittsburgh Steelers Week 5 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2023 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 5 roundup for the Pittsburgh Steelers in our consensus 2023 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 19

Biggest issue on defense: Run defense

For the second year in a row, the Steelers' defense lost a key member in the first game of the season. This time around, Cameron Heyward's groin injury was a significant hit to the team's run defense. While the team held reigning rushing champ Josh Jacobs to 3.6 yards per carry, the Steelers are allowing 4.7 yards per carry on the season -- ranking 28th in the NFL. Against the Texans, the Steelers allowed running back Dameon Pierce to set the tone early, which opened up the game for Houston's rookie quarterback. -- Brooke Pryor

NFL.com -- Rank: 23

Dyed-in-the-wool Steelers fans have heard statements from Mike Tomlin similar to the pledge -- "Hell yeah, there's gonna be changes" -- he offered after getting blown out by Houston. The questions are what will change, and how? There will likely be a temptation to start their top two 2023 draft picks and replace Najee Harris with Jaylen Warren; might they even make a change at offensive coordinator? These are all well-worn themes among observers in Steeltown by now. The injury Kenny Pickett suffered Sunday isn't considered serious, but the Steelers should at least consider sitting him Sunday against the Ravens if he's not fairly healthy. Even when Cam Heyward and Diontae Johnson return from injury, they won't be able to fix the whole ship by themselves.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 18

The showing against the Texans was putrid, all the way around. Now the knee-injury issues for Kenny Pickett are a concern.

USA Today -- Rank: 12

When your offense is almost completely dysfunctional, and you're turning to a backup quarterback ... maybe run the ball? Pittsburgh's ground game ranks 29th and is without a TD, but it has been increasingly productive every week.

The Athletic -- Rank: 23

The Steelers can't even get a team plane that works. For the second straight week, their trip home was delayed by aircraft issues. Kenny Pickett can't get off the ground either. He has the fourth-worst off-target percentage (14.2) of any regular starter in the league. His passing EPA per dropback (minus-.28) ranks 35th. And his completion percentage (60.6) ranks 29th. It hasn't been so much chaotic as crappy.

FOX -- Rank: 27

This offense is so painful to watch — and that was before Kenny Pickett exited the loss to Houston with a knee injury. Mike Tomlin said afterward that changes need to be made, but it remains to be seen what that means. The defense getting gashed by a rookie quarterback behind a makeshift offensive line is concerning, but none of that matters until the Pittsburgh offense becomes viable. Hopefully, Pickett's injury isn't severe, because hope for improvement seems slim without him.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 22

Kenny Pickett's knee injury reportedly could lead to him missing time, though it's not a season-ending injury. That's good news, but the bigger problem is Pickett looks poor to start the season. And an injury that costs him some time won't help his development.

PFT -- Rank: 15

The Steelers keep having issues getting their planes back to Pittsburgh. With more games like Sunday's, Pittsburgh might just tell them to not bother.

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