ESPN Team Reporters Release Initial 2015 Team Record Predictions

The predictions are starting to roll in now that the 2015 NFL schedule has been released. ESPN.com wasted no time in getting all of their NFL Nation reporters to predict the records for the teams that they cover and you probably won’t be surprised by what Scott Brown forecasted in 2015 for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brown, who has covered the Steelers for several years, has the Black and Gold going 9-7 in 2015.

Brown writes:

All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell will miss up to the first three games of the season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy and All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown is unhappy with his contract with three years still left on it. What should concern the Steelers more is they have enough questions at outside linebacker and in their secondary to fill a show of “Jeopardy,” not to mention a demanding schedule in which they open at New England and play five of their last six games against teams that made the playoffs in 2014.

Brown’s prediction is legitimate and well within reason as the Steelers face the toughest schedule in the league based on 2014 results. We’ve already highlighted the Steelers final six games that Brown mentions, which include three games against teams in their division in addition to games against the Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts.

As far as other ESPN.com predictions go for the teams in the Steelers division, Coley Harvey has the Cincinnati Bengals going 10-6 thanks in part to “a timely bye, a veteran roster and some favorable late-season matchups.”

Jamison Hensley has the Baltimore Ravens going 9-7 as he believes this is “the toughest schedule in coach John Harbaugh’s eight seasons.”

As for the Cleveland Browns, Pat McManamon has them going 4-12 in 2015 due to “the lack of a potent offense.”

  • JNick

    Describing the Browns as having a “lack of a potent offense” is like saying the Pope has “catholic leanings”.

  • Vinhuddle

    7&9 was my initial prediction. 9&7 possibly leads to a wildcard, then who knows what can happen from there on out. The toughest schedule could have them playoff tested and ready, to make a run come playoff time. I’m trying hard to be optimistic this a.m.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    With lots of questions still up in the air, 9-7 is fair. Still need to see how the draft pans out, the result of Bell’s appeal, the conclusion to Brown’s contract negotiation, and evaluate the hopeful signs that come out of training camp and the preseason.

  • Vinhuddle

    Or a funny hat.

  • Shawn S.

    Hard to argue with Brown. This schedule is brutal. But who would have thought we would convincingly beat the Texans, Colts, and Ravens after starting 3-3 to start last season? You never know what this team is capable of.

    I still wonder how much a new DC will be a factor, on top of the new faces on D.

  • Shawn S.

    Valid point about tough schedule getting us ready should we make the playoffs.

  • The Notorious TOM

    This is a 10-win team at the worst. No way we take a step backwards from last season.

  • Paddy

    That’s why they PLAY the games.

  • mem359

    What was the prediction last year for the NFC South teams (or for teams that played them)? Based on the 2013 results, it looked like a very strong division… If anyone predicted last year’s collapse of those teams (especially the Saints), that would be someone worth listening to.

  • Donnie Adams

    Mark my words 10-6 maybe 11-5!!!

  • Fritz Baughman

    The offense is a 10-win team at the worst. The defense is exactly the opposite and has more question marks than any Steeler defense that I can remember over the past 20 years.

  • Steel PAul

    “Enough questions at outside linebacker and in the secondary to fill a show of Jeopardy”

    When I suggest as much, I get many protestors. Right now, 9-7 seems about right.

  • T R

    i need to jump on your back, its strong. lol

  • T R

    agree, i think the afc west collapses this year.. denver, kc chiefs, oak and san diego… i think thats 4 wins we get there…

  • Rick M

    Last year the 10 non-divisional teams we faced had a combined record of 60-99-1 at the end of the season. This year, we’re playing 10 non-divisional teams with a 93-67 record in 2014. And last year we faced none of the four top seeds in the playoffs (N.E., Denver, Seattle and Green Bay). This year we play 3 of them.

    It’s going to be a real challenge to rack up double-digit wins. Our defense was in the bottom quarter of the league despite the very weak schedule. We need a major improvement on the defensive side of the ball – definitely a possibility – to be a contender.

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  • Steel PAul

    I know the formula the NFL uses to make the schedules, but why does it seem like the Steelers often have one of the toughest, if not the toughest, schedule in the league?

    And why do they play the Cheatriots and the Colts when they’re playing the AFC West?

  • Donte Williams

    to steel paul we won our division so we have to play all the division leaders int he AFC

  • Steel PAul

    AND HOW DO THE CHEATRIOTS GET THE EASIEST SCHEDULE – AGAIN???

    The NFL’s team..

  • Donte Williams

    im with you Donnie if we can stay healthy on the offense there is no way this offense folds i dont care if we dont have Bell the first 3 games Angelo is no Tate, Harris or Dri he is wayy better and proven and not to mention the Steelers as we know play to their competition so having a hard schedule should bring out the best of them remember 08-09 the toughest schedule in the league and analst were doubting us what did our beloved team do. i know i know the defense is different but i am intrigued to see what butler and tomlin got up their sleeve our offense can hang/bang with any team in this league

  • mem359

    I had forgotten that they assigned different commentators for each division.
    Since they don’t talk with each other, the predictions for the entire NFL has about 20 more wins than loses. (I predict this won’t happen.)

  • danny

    9-7 and 10-6 with the circumstances they describe, lack of talent and depth at positions schedule bell suspension, says ALOT about this team. I mean, take the bell suspension out the window and put in an average schedule and what are we?? 12-4?? These are some good predictions

  • Rick M

    I dislike the NFL Head Office vehemently, but my guess is that if you tabulate our last 5 to 6 schedules it’s probably pretty mixed. Some easier schedules, some middle-of-the-road and some tougher. I know we’ve always had some lightweight teams on our schedule over the last 3 to 4 years because we talk about the difficulty in beating them. As for the Patriots, 5 of their 10 non-divisional games in 2015 are not easy: Pittsburgh, Dallas, Indianapolis, Philadelphia and Denver.

    As you suggest, these schedules are set up years in advance without knowing any team standings. You play your 6 divisional games and 4 games against a rotating NFC conference. Your six remaining games are planned years in advance and are determined by previous-year seeding. So there’s no collusion as far as opponents are concerned.

    The variable that the NFL Head Office does control is how the 16 games for each team will be scheduled, how much travel each team will have. etc. Sorry for the long explanation…which you likely already knew. Cheers.

  • Jason

    Yet that anemic offense scored 27 and 31 in 2 games vs us last season.

  • Jason

    Schedules are predetermined. The Patriots play the 2 divisions they are scheduled to play every 4 years in this case the AFC south and NFC East and then the other games are determined by where they finish the year which is why they play us and Denver, both division winners. No conspiracy on this one.

  • Jason

    Cuz we’re all division winners.

  • JNick

    And the architect of that offense, Hoyer the Destroyer is no longer a Brown. Plus I’m not giving any team + marks on offense by putting up a fair number of points against the Steelers medoicre defense.

  • JNick

    There are quite a number of ways for them to take a step back. Heck for them to even stay at the level they were last year Jones, Thomas, and Blake need to step up in a big way. This team is by no means an impressive one on paper at this point.

  • JNick

    I call them the “Occupy Steelersdepot” homers. There are a handful here that can’t quite be objective.

  • Jason

    That was my point. I agree that the Browns offense sucks, just pointing out how bad our D was to allow the numbers they did against that team.

  • Rick M

    It’s a stretch to say the 2013 AFC South was a “very strong division”. Two of the teams finished 4-12. The other teams did play very well (12-4 and 11-4), so overall it was a .500 conference. I do agree with you completely that teams can change a lot year to year however.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I say 11 and 5 again and winning the AFC north!

  • rayster

    Let’s look forward to the 2016 season then!

  • Rick M

    Admire your courage for even posting a 7-9 comment 🙂 You’re right to have fears. We have a tough schedule and if the D doesn’t play a lot better it will be a long year. Full marks to the team for 11-5 last year, but it was a much easier schedule and when the rubber met the road at home in the playoffs we clearly weren’t good enough.

    There are so many variables/question marks on the D. How those turn out will determine our record. If you forced me to guess, 8-8 would be most likely, with 9-7 second. We desperately need a couple of Jones, Shazier, S. Thomas, Moats and C. Allen to work out well.

  • Allen S. Cooper

    I agree with you. Pittsburgh played well against good teams. And always played down to weaker teams. I would not expect nothing else. The gd thing is the NFC west teams are not offensive juggernauts.

  • johnhoien

    I see this team as 10- 6.. But we turn the corner this year w/ a healthy RB in the playoffs….No more deep posts for Bell .. Arrows pointing up on offense…and I believe The D is going to surprise people a little.. In a good way.

  • cencalsteeler

    I disagree, unfortunately. Because we had the weakest schedule in the NFL last year, our record was a bit misleading. We got bounced from the first playoff game and rightfully so. This year will be a true test to what kind of team we have.

  • Who knows? It’s still very early. Sure, right now, ahead of the draft, the Steelers don’t look like a great team. And if I had to pick a range, it would be somewhere between 7-9 and 10-6, inclusive. So sure, 9-7 sounds reasonable. But things can change quickly in the NFL. All it takes is one injury — say, to Peyton Manning — for a team to collapse. If the Steelers don’t fix the secondary, we could be in for a long and frustration season. But if the the offence turns out to be truly elite and the problems on defence are adequately addressed, it’s pretty clear this team should at least be competing for another AFC North title.

  • cencalsteeler

    Unfortunately, I agree Rick. As a fan, I’m hoping for SuperBowl, but the reality is what you posted. We played a cake walk schedule last year, so our record though cemented, is still muddied, imo. To add one more thing…. last season the schedule also was travel friendly where this year it’s not, and Tomlins track record is by no means any good in the Pacific time zone.

  • Rick M

    You’re absolutely right about the travel. Much more time in the air and there’s no opportunity to group lengthy travel games.

  • steelster

    I don’t see a wild card team coming out of the afc north with the touugh schedule all teams face. So it’s win the division or go home for the steelers. A 9-7 record may win the division.

  • Scott

    So how do they determine the schedules anyway? You would think that the Superbowl champs would have the toughest schedule every year.

  • LucasY59

    Win? -Patriot, game will be tough, but I like that they have time to prepare and should go into it healthy, a little over 50/50 on a win here

    Win! -49’s, they were a tough team a few years ago, but last year were dissapointing and this offseaon was a disaster for them. I am pretty sure Steelers get a win in their home opener

    Loss? -Rams, they’re a tougher team than some would expect and their D will be tough for sure, Foles might be able to improve the O, If Bell can get his suspension reduced that will help a lot other wise this could be the surprise let down loss (that they have at least one of each year)

    Win -Ravens, the Steelers will want to avenge the playoff loss, will have Bell back and are hosting a thursday night game at home so I am pretty confident in a win here

    Win -Chargers, the Steelers have to go across the country but usually do well on monday night, If the Chargers still have fillup rivers this will be a tougher game, if Wiz can get a trade, and the Chargers are starting a rookie QB this is a win for sure, but think either way the Steelers can pull it out with a little extra break coming off a thursday night game.

    Win -Cardinals, will be a really tough game (if the Steelers win the Rams game I would switch this one to a loss) The Cards have to travel to Pittsburgh and the Steelers will need to be stacking wins at this point, so I am calling this one a win

    Loss? -Chiefs, The Chiefs will have to find a few WR’s to catch TD’s this year and they are really tough at home (almost as much as Seattle) if the WR’s for KC arent any better than they were last season this could be a win (and if the Steelers get cheated our of a season opening win, they would be a little more desperate for a win also)

    Win -Bengals, at home they have to at least tie this series to have a shot at the playoffs and if they are coming off a loss the previous week they will be ready for this one

    Win -Raiders, (why am I so nervous about this one) the Steelers have consistently played down to the Raiders and have a prety bad record recently against them, The Steelers need to make this homestand a trio of wins so they will hopefully make this the easiest win of the season

    Win -Browns, again they need to win all three of these games in a row at home, Browns will probably be worse this year and the Steelers should be able to shut down the ground game and if Johnny Rehab is starting he should struggle

    Loss -Seahawks, toughest game of the season, the Steelers shut down Jimmy Graham in the Saints game last year, and will have to again if they have any shot at a win, playing in Seattle is tough and a long trip for the Steelers (at least they have the bye before it) (I am hoping I will get to go to this game since it is the closest place for me to travel to see a NFL game, too bad the tickets are so damn expensive)

    Win -Colts, the Steelers Offense and Defense will hopefully be better than it was last year so a similar game to last year could happen (the Steelers also need to win as many games as possible during this last stretch of the season, and this one is at home)

    Loss -Bengals, obviously if they can win this they are in good position to make the playoffs (and if they lost the earlier game to Cinci this becomes almost a must win) it’s in Cinci and it will be hard to sweep them so I’m counting this as a loss

    Win -Broncos, Peyton is traveling to a cold weather stadium late in the season, The Steelers can’t afford to have back to back losses so this is a win

    Loss -Ravens, again if they can sweep a division rival it will help a ton and would give them great momentum going into the playoffs, but that is a hard thing to do (especially when they are playing so many tough games late)

    Win! -Browns, either way if they are following a win or a loss they need to get a good win before the start of the Playoffs, Ben plays well in Cleveland so hopefully this is a impressive win to go hard into the post season and make a championship run

    so my prediction is 11-5, ESPN should pay me! hehe
    best case scenario 13-3, and worst could be a return to 8-8, its a tough schedule, but it could be a schedule that sharpens them for a championship run or shows them the weaknesses they need to fix to be able to make that run

  • LucasY59

    good prediction!

  • LucasY59

    this time its not a conspiracy its just a reward to the Steelers for winning the Division last year (also makes up for the easy schedule the Steelers had last year, they should’ve been 13-3 but blew against the Bucs and Browns)

  • LucasY59

    could defininitely happen, Peyton is old, Chargers could trade Rivers, Chiefs might not have a WR to catch TD’s again (or is it a QB who can throw them?) and The Raiders are the Raiders

  • LucasY59

    Falcons were not expected to be as bad as they were either of the last two years, and the Buccs have talent, but cant put it togeather (thought Lovie could make it happen) and the Steelers lost to them last year

  • NYCSteelCurtain

    We tend to lose to the Raiders

  • Michael Martin

    12-4. We will see huge improvement from the defense. This is assuming we draft a stud NT. If we don’t draft one, McClendon will be riding pine for eight games and we will lose 6 of them. We’ll go 5-3 when McClendons shoulder is healthy . McCullers will wear down quickly from naturally being on the losing side of the physics of leverage. Cam Thomas will still be on the team if we don’t draft his replacement. He’s a weak link that didn’t give 100% last year until the first time Stephon Tuitt saw the field..

  • The Notorious TOM

    Call me cautiously optimistic. I think our team’s going to look better on paper than it did last year (to me) and I’m confident about how they measure up. Offense is already world-class and the defense can only get better right? … right :'(?

  • LucasY59

    unfortunately, but this year I expect them to have a little more focus and wont have a let down game like they have previously

  • cencalsteeler

    I wouldn’t go as far to say the Offense is world-class by any means. They have trouble in the red zone and alot of stalled drives resulting in 3’s. Can it be? Sure, they definately have the makeup to get there, and let’s hope the offseason addresses those issues. On the Defensive side, I’m with you. They should improve. Problem is, the opponents we face have much better Offenses then we saw last season. It definately will be fun to watch how this season unfolds, hopefully it sways in the direction that puts smiles on both of our faces.

  • Steve Johnson

    9-7 and they just miss the playoffs, 10-6 they barely squeeze in and Super Bowl Winners. That’s my prediction and I’m sticking with it.

  • Rob S.

    6 Division Games, 4 games against one NFC division (rotated, NFC West this year), 4 games against one other AFC division (rotated, AFC West this year), 1 game a piece against teams in the remaining AFC divisions that placed the same place in their own division. Steelers won the division so they get the other two division winners (Patriots and Colts)

  • Craig M

    But the night is young and a lot can happen still.

  • Craig M

    A couple players shy of a decent D, a better rush up front w/ newer Def. coaching concept and 4 man rush, maturity factor a plus on the line w/ McCullers. Off. can get it done, already proved that, just need more consistent strategy from the OC, clock management from HC. Hope the Ranger is a pleasant surprise, we pick up a decent D back from other teams cuts and Ben stays healthy. Steeler football, a little luck and 10 wins Hoorah! (Oh and someone please get us somebody to return kicks, please).

  • Craig M

    I like the 13-3 best case, 8-8 worst case, unlike me I bet w/ my heart 16-0, unrealistic, but the heart knows what the heart wants. 🙂

  • Craig M

    I will be really surprised to see Thomas making it and McCullers should show really good improvement. I’m kind of guessing they will go w/ a lot of old style 4 man fronts. P.S. I hope they tear NE a new one.

  • Craig M

    Wonder what the odd will be in Vegas on them taking the AFC?

  • Ryan

    I’m going with 11-5 if key guys stay healthy. We play better against good teams. We have a legit backup RB now, new D coordinator so the D won’t be as predictable anymore and I think we’ll shore up our holes with the draft.

  • Steel PAul

    Good call JNick. But that’s probably every town in America with a team, huh?

  • Steel PAul

    No it’s appreciated Rick. I just wasn’t sure why they also seemed to be playing other division winners besides those two divisions. Must be part of the formula.

  • Steel PAul

    Just need to have the AFC East get tougher around them. The bastards 😉

  • Steel PAul

    Yeah that was a nice schedule for a change. But I dunno.. I still feel like they stick it to the Steelers whenever they can.

  • JNick

    True. That doesn’t make them any more intelligent though. Objectivity is lost on these boards with quite a few.

  • Rob

    9-7 is fair. I think some teams have regressed significantly enough to hope that our defense, post draft, can at least be average. Time to play JJ, Shazier, Shamarko, Cortez, Mitchell, and see what we’ve got. I’m still intrigued by the Shawn Lemon pickup out of the CFL too. I feel like there’s a lot of potential this year. Just no proof. If they play to expectation, that should be enough to win us 10+ games.

  • pittfan

    15-1..30-1 for the Super Bowl. I’m putting down $200 on each

  • pittfan

    I love the idea of using shade tree as NT on passing situations in a 4-3. Send 4 and teach that huge lunk to get his hands up

  • mem359

    While nowhere near potent, the Browns offense was probably better than they were given credit for. They scored 20+ points in 10 of their games, which might have been enough if their defense played better. The games against Houston, Buffalo (good defenses) and the last 3 games (Manziel playing) dragged down their average.