Steelers Have No More Distractions or Excuses
Gone are Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell. The Pittsburgh Steelers era of dominance in the AFC North is now at stake. The rival Cleveland Browns have rebuilt their roster to challenge for the division this season and the Baltimore Ravens will continue to annoy the black and gold as they do annually.
The Steelers are hoping the loss of Brown and Bell will benefit the club by removing the off the field distractions. The distractions caused by Bell’s contract and the dissatisfaction Brown had for Ben Roethlisberger.
The Steelers are Roethlisberger’s team now, and there is no question that he is the undisputed leader. Roethlisberger’s stats have been steadily consistent his last four seasons, but the Steelers will need him to cut down on his turnovers. The big-play ability of Antonio Brown is no longer a feature of this offense and can not be counted on to keep the Steelers in high scoring games.
The Steelers will look for a return to old using their running game featuring James Conner and rookie Benny Snell. The running game should provide for more play-action and to attack man coverage with breakout star and the team selected MVP JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington.
The Steelers defense also improved with the drafting of Michigan standout linebacker Devin Bush.
The team has a right mix of veterans and young talent, and coach Mike Tomlin will be looking to guide the team back to the playoffs. The more imminent challenge is the much improved Browns side, the current division champion Ravens, and a Bengals team with the talent on offense to make a playoff push as well. The division is the strongest it has been in over a decade.
The Steelers are predicted to win nine games this upcoming season. I don’t believe the Steelers will win more than nine games based on their demanding conference schedule. Therefore the Steelers will not make the playoffs for the second year in a row.
The Patriots Run Shows No Signs of Ending
The Patriots will attempt to become only the second team in NFL history to make it to four straight Super Bowls this season. The challenge for the team is complacency and health.
Bengals Place Hopes in Zac Taylor
Zac Taylor, the former quarterback coach of the Los Angeles Rams, takes over this year for Marvin Lewis. Lewis steered the Bengals ship since 2003 finishing his tenure with the most wins in franchise history and an overall winning record.
Dolphins Begin Another Rebuild Project
The Miami Dolphins have been on what seems to be a never-ending rebuild since 1999. The Dolphins are entering their 54th season, meaning nearly half of their existence has involved some uncertainty at the coach and quarterback position.