The favorites within the AFC North are the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens. The Bengals scratched and clawed their approach to the Super Bowl final season, and had been a handful of performs away from profitable the sport. Injuries derailed the Ravens’ 2021 season earlier than the prepare left the station, and so they wish to contend for a Super Bowl in 2022 as most sportsbooks have them listed as the favourite to win the North.
Jackson missed 5 video games, the working backs missed each recreation, the defensive backfield was gutted and the offensive line was undermanned. If there was ever a group to wager on merely for luck it’s the Ravens as a result of in the event that they’re as injured this season as they had been final season, somebody within the Ravens’ group is due for a billion-dollar Mega Millions win to stability out the universe.
Surprise alternate final result: Steelers have sufficient expertise to win the division
What the Steelers haven’t lacked lately are playmakers. On either side of the ball, the Steelers have gamers who can produce viral highlights and swing a recreation in a single second. There are two decisions for one of the best 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 gained Defensive Player of the Year, tallying 22.5 sacks on the season (.5 sacks off the report). 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 working 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 had been within the backside third, however had been capable of get sufficient splash performs from Najee Harris and Diontae Johnson — who simply acquired 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 a lot as that Steelers offense struggled to get the ball down the sector within the passing recreation, Johnson nonetheless caught 107 passes for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns. Some Steelers followers is perhaps upset in Chase Claypool, however he managed to each common 14-plus yards per reception and acquire greater than 800 yards receiving even with the quarterback woes of the final two seasons. The Steelers additionally chosen George Pickens from the 2021 National Champion Georgia Bulldogs. The 6-foot-3 Pickens was a five-star recruit and the fourth-best highschool large receiver in America in 2019 per 24/7 sports activities.
Reinforcements have been added to the Steelers’ offensive line by bringing in James Daniels and Mason Cole, and it will be very tough to not enhance upon final 12 months’s manufacturing. Also, as maligned as Mitchell Trubisky has been all through his profession, he’s higher than any quarterback who began for the Steelers in 2020 or 2021, and if he can’t get the job accomplished, rookie Kenny Pickett has seemed nice in current weeks. The Steelers might not have the deepest group, however that expertise that they do have solely wants a handful of performs to alter a recreation.