How the Steelers can win the AFC North

How the Steelers can win the AFC North

  • baltimore ravens
  • Ben Roethlisberger
  • lamar jackson
  • Mike Tomlin
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
By Christian Wolf August 1, 2020 0 Comment
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Can the Steelers win the AFC North over their rival? It’s possible, but a few things need to happen in order to make it a possibility.

The AFC North is one of the most interesting divisions in the NFL. Three teams are clearly on the rise. While one, the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to win the AFC North for the 24th time.

The Steelers have been on top of the AFC North for the past many years, but with the new dominating force known as the Baltimore Ravens, that may not be the case in the coming years.

However, writing off the Steelers completely would be a mistake. The Ravens are clearly the team to beat in the division and perhaps the entire AFC. Dethroning them, while a tough task, can be done.

The Steelers will be getting Ben Roethlisberger back, along with a defense who can make a case as one of the leagues strongest. The problem is the Ravens have a stronger offense, and a defense almost equally as good. It’s pretty obvious it would take regression from Baltimore for the Steelers to even have a shot at winning the AFC North.

There are positives to look at as the season approaches. The Steelers contained Lamar Jackson better than any other team in the 2019 season (until Tennesse Titans shut the Baltimore offense down in the playoffs). And doing that for a second straight season is critical.

The Ravens had one of the weaker wide receiver groups in the AFC. But with the new additions of Devin Duvernay and James Proche along with second-year Marquise Brown, that might not be the case much longer.

It also doesn’t help that the Ravens have the easiest 2020 schedule based on last season. So the Steelers have a lot up against them. But now let’s take a look at what needs to happen for the Steelers to win the AFC North.

Resurgence offense

If the Steelers can be a top 12 or even top 15 offense in the NFL, that might be enough to win the games they need to win.

Last year relied heavily on the defense to win games, but in 2020 the offense will need to step up to see a chance at winning the division, and with everyone back from injury, there isn’t a reason why they shouldn’t.

No more playing down to competition

Playing down to their competition has been one of the biggest weaknesses of this team in the Mike Tomlin era. There is zero room for that in 2020.

Playing teams like New York, Washington, Jacksonville, and Cincinnati twice should be a free five wins. Anything less is underachieving and damaging. Baltimore won’t make those mistakes, and neither should the Steelers.

Staying injury (and virus)-free

With the current circumstances, any player participating in the 2020 season could miss games unexpectedly, and that can completely change a team’s fortune. The Steelers need to be smart off the field.

The NFL doesn’t seem like it will create a bubble for the players, so the risk of contracting the virus is extremely high. Isolating and keeping safe can go a long way.

Coaching

Mike Tomlin is one of the best coaches in the league, and overall the Steelers front office is one of the best. Being able to make moves when necessary and recognizing when changes need to be made is something they do extremely well, and they need to continue it in 2020.

While it doesn’t seem likely, the Steelers cannot afford a coaching breakdown. Everyone needs to do their job for a chance to be crowned atop the division

Sweeping the Ravens

People will say this isn’t completely necessary, but it is. The Steelers need to go 2-0 against the Ravens and anything less will cost them. When a win or loss for Baltimore is put in Pittsburgh’s hands, they need to take advantage. If they can’t beat them twice, they won’t beat them in the division race. Baltimore is just too good.

A season split isn’t even expected. But taking the NFL world by surprise is something the Steelers do well, so let’s just wait and see.

Just dumb luck

Everything above could go perfectly according to plan and the Steelers may still not win the division. The Ravens could easily ride their talent to the Super Bowl and there would be nothing the majority of the league could do about it.

The Steelers will need a lot to go their way. The Ravens will need to lose games, more than anyone expects them to. But if everything goes according to plan, and luck is on their side, anything is possible.

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Steelers writer for the Brawl Network. Follow me on twitter @412champs

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