Pittsburgh Steelers: 2014 NFL Nation season predictions

Pittsburgh Steelers game predictions

September, 2, 2014

ESPN.com Pittsburgh Steelers reporter Scott Brown makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.

Week 1: Cleveland Browns

A new-look team will be the same, old Browns when it comes to this AFC North rivalry. The Browns haven't defeated the Steelers in Pittsburgh since 2003 and they have never beaten Ben Roethlisberger, an Ohio native, at Heinz Field. It won't happen this year with quarterback so much of a question mark for the Browns. Prediction: win

Week 2: at Baltimore Ravens

A terrific early-season Thursday matchup sees the renewal of one of the nastiest rivalries in the NFL. Both teams are alike in a lot of ways, which only adds to their dislike for one another. They get a national stage to beat the stuffing out of one another, and I see another close game with the home-field advantage proving to be the difference. Prediction: loss

Week 3: at Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are vulnerable this year, and this is a good time for a team with question marks in the secondary to play an opponent that needs wide receivers to emerge. The Steelers steal one in Charlotte after getting a lot of rest to recover from their game against the Ravens. Prediction: win

Week 4: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers have made a ton of changes, the most significant one coming at head coach where Lovie Smith takes over for Greg Schiano, who was a disaster in the NFL. The Steelers come close to winning three of their first four games but the Buccaneers upset them at Heinz Field. Prediction: loss

Week 5: at Jacksonville Jaguars

I think the Jags have the right coach to lead their turnaround in Gus Bradley but they are still a year away from making a move in the AFC South. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau isn't going to let journeyman quarterback Chad Henne or rookie Blake Bortles beat him, and the Steelers will pull away from the Jaguars in the second half. Prediction: win

Week 6: at Cleveland Browns

The Browns may have handed over the offense to Johnny Manziel by this time, and it would certainly add some sizzle to this game if he is indeed under center. The Steelers were expecting Johnny Football to start against them in the season opener. They will wait a couple of weeks to give Manziel their welcome to the NFL. Prediction: win

Week 7: Houston Texans

This will be a closer game than people think. J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney will make it tough for the Steelers to move the ball, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is a capable enough of a quarterback to beat the Steelers if they don't pressure him. Prediction: win

Week 8: Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck has established himself as an elite quarterback and I suspect he will be too much for the Steelers to handle, even though they play Luck and the Colts at Heinz Field. The three-game winning streak comes to an end when the Steelers finally run into a team that is anything but suspect at quarterback. Prediction: loss

Week 9: Baltimore Ravens

The biggest key for the Steelers in the prime-time rematch is not letting Joe Flacco summon some late-game heroics. Flacco beat the Steelers in three consecutive regular-season games at Heinz Field from 2010-12, delivering two of those wins with late touchdown drives. Prediction: win

Week 10: at New York Jets

Rex Ryan's bunch looks like the one team capable of challenging New England's supremacy in the AFC East. Geno Smith should be a much better quarterback than the Steelers beat last year at MetLife Stadium. I don't like this matchup for the Steelers with the Jets trying to keep pace with the Patriots in the AFC East. Prediction: loss

Week 11: at Tennessee Titans

The Steelers face former Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt in their fifth and final prime-time game of the regular season. The Steelers have lost consecutive games to the Titans that they should have won. Whisenhunt should do well in Tennessee but the Titans have the look of a 7-9 or 6-10 team. Prediction: win

Week 13: New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees has fared well against the Steelers both times he has played them since joining the Saints -- and becoming one of the most prolific quarterbacks of his generation. It's hard to see the Steelers' secondary holding up under the barrage of passes Brees will throw at Heinz Field. Prediction: loss

Week 14: at Cincinnati Bengals

This game should have huge AFC North implications. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is 5-2 at Paul Brown Stadium and I'm not a big fan of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. But the Bengals defense and home-field advantage should give them an all-important division win. Prediction: loss

Week 15: at Atlanta Falcons

Every season, it seems, a team goes from worst to first in its division, and Atlanta is a candidate to do that in 2014. Injuries wrecked the Falcons last season and this will be one of the Steelers' tougher road games. The offense carries the Steelers in a high-scoring win, and the Steelers keep themselves in the AFC North race. Prediction: win

Week 16: Kansas City Chiefs

This team takes a step back after emerging as one of the surprises of the 2013 season and making the playoffs. The Steelers will load up against running back Jamaal Charles and make quarterback Alex Smith beat them. They also will put up their share of points against the Chiefs defense. Prediction: win

Week 17: Cincinnati Bengals

Hello, again. The AFC rivals meet for the second time in four weeks and nothing less than the division title may be on the line. Just as in Cincinnati, home-field advantage is the difference and the Steelers close the regular season on a three-game winning streak. Prediction: win

Predicted record: 10-6