The favorites within the AFC North are the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens. The Bengals scratched and clawed their option to the Tremendous Bowl final season, and have been a handful of performs away from successful the sport. Accidents derailed the Ravens’ 2021 season earlier than the practice left the station, and so they need to contend for a Tremendous Bowl in 2022 as most sportsbooks have them listed as the favourite to win the North.
Jackson missed 5 video games, the operating backs missed each sport, the defensive backfield was gutted and the offensive line was undermanned. If there was ever a workforce to guess on merely for luck it’s the Ravens as a result of in the event that they’re as injured this season as they have been final season, somebody within the Ravens’ group is due for a billion-dollar Mega Hundreds of thousands win to stability out the universe.
Shock alternate end result: Steelers have sufficient expertise to win the division
What the Steelers haven’t lacked in recent times are playmakers. On each side of the ball, the Steelers have gamers who can produce viral highlights and swing a sport in a single second. There are two selections for the perfect cross rusher within the NFL, the Browns’ Myles Garrett or the Steelers’ T.J. Watt. Garrett is the higher bodily specimen, however even with Pittsburgh lacking two beginning defensive linemen for a lot of the 2021 season, Watt nonetheless received Defensive Participant of the 12 months, tallying 22.5 sacks on the season (.5 sacks off the file). There’s additionally Minkah Fitzpatrick all the time lurking within the defensive backfield able to cease a drive in cross protection or blow up a operating play.
Then on offense, even with poor offensive line play and Roethlisberger’s age they nonetheless weren’t the worst unit within the league. They have been within the backside third, however have been capable of get sufficient splash performs from Najee Harris and Diontae Johnson — who simply obtained a brand new contract — to clinch that seventh playoff spot.
Harris is the Steelers’ new Le’Veon Bell with 307 carries and 74 receptions as a rookie.
As much as that Steelers offense struggled to get the ball down the field in the passing game, Johnson still caught 107 passes for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns. Some Steelers fans might be disappointed in Chase Claypool, but he managed to both average 14-plus yards per reception and gain more than 800 yards receiving even with the quarterback woes of the last two seasons. The Steelers also selected George Pickens from the 2021 National Champion Georgia Bulldogs. The 6-foot-3 Pickens was a five-star recruit and the fourth-best high school wide receiver in America in 2019 per 24/7 sports.
Reinforcements have been added to the Steelers’ offensive line by bringing in James Daniels and Mason Cole, and it would be very difficult to not improve upon last year’s production. Also, as maligned as Mitchell Trubisky has been throughout his career, he’s better than any quarterback who started for the Steelers in 2020 or 2021, and if he can’t get the job done, rookie Kenny Pickett has looked great in recent weeks. The Steelers may not have the deepest team, but that talent that they do have only needs a handful of plays to change a game.