It comes as a surprise that the AFC North will even play football this year. From Chris Lewis-Harris’ (who?) substance-abuse suspension to Ray Rice’s “I totally didn’t mean to beat my wife” suspension to Josh Gordon’s “Bruh, two hits then pass that that season-long suspension,” is anyone even eligible to play this year? Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), yes.
Coach: Mike Tomlin
It’s hard to really tell how the Steelers and their team of should-be felons will pan out this year, but you can never count them out. Despite Ben “Sir Touch-a-Lot” Roethlisberger having one of the best years statistically of his career in 2013, the Steelers only went 8-8. Expect a return to form (hopefully not in a Vegas bathroom) of Big Ben and the Steelers squad.
LeGarrette “I Will Smash My Helmet Against Your Face” Blount was added in the offseason and should help bolster the sixth-worst rushing offense in the NFL. Antonio Brown is a stud. Darrius Heyward-Bey and Lance Moore were signed in the offseason and have been meh forever, but there have been flashes of decency from time to time. A healthy Heath Miller should help as well.
The defense should be able to step up as well. Cameron Heyward finally showed why he was a first round pick last year. Rookies Stephon Tuitt and Ryan Shazier will help as well. The Steelers apparently love former Al Davis busts since, along with Heyward-Bey, they signed Michael Mitchell to play safety. He had a good year in Carolina and should continue to play well next to Troy Polamalu’s hair.
Notable Losses: WR Emmanuel Sanders, S Ryan Clark, OLB LaMarr Woodley
Notable Additions: RB LeGarrette Blount, S Michael Mitchell, WR Darrius Heywar-Bey
Notable Draft Picks: LB Ryan Shazier, DE Stephon Tuitt, RB/WR Dri Archer
2013 Record: 8-8, 2nd in AFC East
AFC North Record: 4-2
Best Case Scenario: 12-4, AFC North Champion
Was last year an aberration? Probably. If Roethlisberger plays like last year and the rest of the cast gives just a little more effort, the Steelers might be back. A pretty easy schedule should help as well.
Worst Case Scenario: 6-10
Then again, counting on LeGarrette Blount, Markus Wheaton, Michael Mitchell and no injuries is always risky.