In this series of articles here on the Last Word On Sports, we will be breaking down each NFL division starting every Monday, preparing for the upcoming 2018 NFL Season. We will highlight strengths and weaknesses of each team and make our best analysis and predictions for this upcoming season. Let’s finish the AFC North Breakdown.
2018 NFL Breakdown: Pittsburgh Steelers : 13 – 3
The Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the most talented rosters in the National Football League. The Steelers are primed for another run to the Super Bowl this season. The Steelers have added some nice pieces to their defense that should help from day one. With the addition of Joe Haden last season and having a healthy offseason to work out he should be primed to have another big year. The Steelers also added Morgan Burnett and Jon Bostic to their defense. Two veterans who can help out at the linebacker and safety position where they struggled last season.
Pittsburgh has one of the top offensives in the league with Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, James Connor, Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Jesse James, Vance McDonald, and Roosevelt Nix. The Steelers did trade away Martavis Bryant this offseason after his displeasure last year with playintg time but upgraded at that position with James Washington in the Draft. They should be primed for another AFC North Title as well as a long run in the playoffs ending in a Super Bowl.
The Steelers have had the same weaknesses over the years which include playing on the road and losing focus at times. The Steelers have had offensive issues on the road in the past few years with offensive coordinator Todd Haley at the helm. Haley and Ben have not seen eye to eye in the past few years which lead to the Steelers letting him go this offseason. Ben’s road and home openers have been completely different which is why the Steelers have been a dominate home team. The road woes should stop this season with a new offensive coordinator in Randy Fitchner who has been the QB coach for a while in Pittsburgh and knows Ben’s strengths and weaknesses. The Steelers have also been known to look past opponents.
Team Most Valuable Player : WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
JuJu Smith-Schuuster had an amazing rookie season last year which helped the Steelers expand their offense. JuJu is now going to be the number two option with Bryant gone. Its going to be important for him to beat one on one coverage so they can open things up for Bell and Brown. JuJu should look to improve on his rookie season with an even better campaign next year. If JuJu can improve on his stats from last year then the Steelers are going to be even more dynamic on offense with the likes of Brown and Bell.
Team Sleeper : LB Jon Bostic
The Steelers lost their leader on defense last season in Ryan Shazier when he suffered a spinal injury. The Steelers could never fill the linebacker position after the lose of Shazier which caused their defense to struggle in the running game and the short passing game. Jon Bostic is a veteran linebacker who has been around the league and was a nice signing for the Steelers. Bostic could fill that void that was left behind when Ryan got hurt. Bostic has the chance to win the starting job and prove himself in Pittsburgh which he has stated that he is ready to get to work. Filling that linebacker position was key for the Steelers this offseason and if Bostic can succeed in that role then the Steelers are on their way back to the Super Bowl.
Training Camp Battle : Safety Position
The Pittsburgh Steelers had to upgrade their safety position this offseason in which they did by letting Mike Mitchell go. The Steelers then added Morgan Burnett while drafting Terrell Edmunds and Marcus Allen. The Steelers will have a battle at the safety position this training camp with both spots being open to anyone. Sean Davis who was one of the starters last season has been rumored to move to the slot corner position. The Steelers have been moving towards more of a 3 safety look on some packages which could help their defense. Edmunds has already opened some eyes in the rookie camp and at OTA’s so watch out for him and Burnett to win the starting positions.
Reason for Prediction
The reason for my 13 – 3 prediction for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl this season. With an improved defense and an offensive who is tops in the league. The Steelers should dominate at home this season and have enough fire power on both sides off the ball to be a above average road team. The Steelers have some tough games on their schedule which include playing the Chiefs, Falcons, Panthers, and Patriots at home while playing the Saints, Raiders, and Jaguars on the road. If the Steelers can be dominate at home and win 2 of their 3 toughest road games then they will be in position for the number one seed in the AFC as well as home field throughout the playoffs.
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