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January 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; General view of the Lamar Hunt trophy following the Denver Broncos 26-16 victory against the New England Patriots in the 2013 AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Can The Pittsburgh Steelers Win The AFC North In 2014?

They haven’t taken a regular season snap yet.  They haven’t spent time on the fields in Latrobe.  They haven’t even inked deals with all the 2014 draft picks.  But, hey that can’t stop predictions about how the Pittsburgh Steelers will perform.  Better yet, they guys over at Football Outsiders put wins and losses to their predictions.  Some in Steeler Nation might be a little surprised with where the Black & Gold would end up.

The Outsiders have the Steelers winning the AFC North Division.  That’s right.  Division champs.  Now don’t go running for your phone and calling up your Uncle Ed and telling him that you told him so.  According to the Outsiders, the Steelers win the AFC North with a measly 9-7 record – just one win better than where they ended up last season.  A slight improvement in the record, and hosts of a wild card game.  And while playoffs are better than no playoffs, I’m lacking the warm fuzzy feeling that one would feel with the hopes of a postseason run.  I guess my excitement at the prospect of a postseason falls a bit short because at 9-7, that means the the AFC North has gone from one of the most dominant divisions in football to a rather weak one.

So why the turn of fortunes for a team that has gone back to back 8-8 seasons and a less than desirable draft this spring?  The Outsiders mainly attribute the one game push to the return of Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey.  That’s it?  If the Football Outsiders are even right, then the Steelers have quite a lot of work to do in order to get back above a 10+ win season.  The Steelers take the division after being tied with the Bengals, but take it with the tie breaker.

So what do you think my fellow yinzers?  Can the Steelers break past the .500 barrier for the first time since 2011?  Better yet, how prophetic can the Outsiders be by slotting the Steelers as division winners and poised for a home playoff win?

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  • trinity

    It’s hard to count out the Steelers because they’re a great organization with a top 5-10 quarterback, but I’m thinking the ravens may get it done this season.

    • PJ_CA

      I count Ben as a Top 5 QB, hands down. The problem I have is he can’t win alone, the D needs to put him in good spots with INTs and Fumbles, and they haven’t been able to do that for a while. Ben has done his part, hanging onto tthe ball better, but the D needs to get back to being a Steelers D as we are spoiled by and used to.

  • boldness

    What the Bengals are just going to fall off the earth ?.They get Geno Back as well as Leon Hall on top of a j green ,burfict,gio,Gresham,Dunlap I mean there really talented ijs


      Did you remember who their quarterback is? Lol. But seriously, this will be Ginger Spice’s final act in Cincy if he can’t win with the plethora of talent, arguably the best in the AFC North, he has at his disposal.

  • bk

    It’s hard to be too optimistic with so many question marks… OL? Is Beachum the answer at LT? Who is the answer at RT? Can Pouncey stay healthy? Who is Ben going to throw to?
    Even if the new WR’s can get up to speed, it’s going to take a while…
    Who is going to cover the WR’s of Cincy and B’more?
    Then there are the Browns who’s D is going to be vastly improved… thank god they don’t have a real qb yet, but, a guy like MAnziel is just the type that always kills the Steelers… Won’t see him in game 1, but, he will be there later in the year…


    As much of a negative Nancy as I am, the Steelers definitely have the talent and schedule to win this division. As long as Haley lets Big Ben use his explosive offensive weapons and spreads the field more, and the defense can force more turnovers & play more press man, I see no reason why Pittsburgh can’t compete for the division title. As long as they can escape their early road stretch, 4 out of first 6 games, with a 2-4 record, they got a shot to unseat Cincy. Enormous questions I know, but this division isn’t exactly the NFC West.

  • PJ_CA

    I am, and always will be, a BIG Steelers fanboy – I admit that. However, considering they did nothing to address the secondary (even somehow allowing Cleveland and Cincy to pick up really good corners), and they have doubts at NT, how can them winning the North even be anywhere near realistic? The way things stand, we better hope and pray the pass rush can get to the QB, because our secondary can and will get burned. Shazier, Jones, Timmons, Worlids, Tuitt, and Heyward better all have career sack years for us to get to the 9 or 10 win plateau. And that is just against the pass. We weren’t exactly “tearing it up” against the run last year. We basically proveed Warren Sapp right last year, the D is old and slow. Did we make progress in getting younger and faster? Yes, of course we did. But I suspect the Outsiders are counting on Tuitt and Shazier to have REALLY good rookie seasons – I am expecting more like Jarvis Jones type years, since it takes time to learn the D. They are good players, no doubt, but it will still be a steep learning curve. Add to that the fact that we go into 2014 with Ike as our clear #1 CB, with his hands of butter and rapidly declining speed – I am EXTREMELY worried about spread formations.
    I am looking forward to a very strong 2015 though

  • Tom Pfeiffer

    Some times you have to look at the end of last season and how the team finished to get an idea of what is to come I think they were 6 and 2 with the way they played they just missed the playoffs. If you watched the games there was really no pass rush they up graded the front of the D with the players they added which will help out the corners plus a new safety. Worlds will be starting from game one on the left side his natural position also they drafted players that played they same positions in college they will be playing in the pros so they will catch on quicker to the system.
    The OL played better the second half of the season even with poor coaching. With Ben and the new and old people on O they should be able to move the ball and with Bell running the ball in the forth Q with a lead they will give the D the rest they need to close out games. It is going to be a very good season they have the players to win the division now do they have the coaching to get the job done?