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Are The Steelers Slowly Becoming The Sexy Pick To Win The AFC North?


Not that it matters much, but the Pittsburgh Steelers appear to be gaining the confidence of the major media as it relates to how they will do in 2013.

Over the course of most of the offseason, the Steelers have been picked by many of the talking heads to finish third in the AFC North behind both the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals, but the consensus of the writers on NFL.com in their latest preview of the division is that the Steelers will come out on top in the division.

Three of the four ATL writers picked the Steelers to win the division. We also had immortal special guest Dave Dameshek, who picked the Bengals to win the division just like Dan Hanzus. (Dameshek had the Ravens at 9-7, his hometown Steelers at 8-8, and the Browns at 6-10.) No one picked the Ravens to repeat as division champions, much less world champions.

So why are the Ravens all of a sudden no longer getting the love from the mainstream? It appears as though a few are starting to think the defending Super Bowl champions are now going through a period of transition. Wait, I thought the Steelers were the team going through a transition from old to young. This is all getting real confusing.

Perhaps the mainstream media is really dropping the Ravens because they feel the loss of tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson for an unknown amount of time will really hurt the production on offense. Aren\'t the Steelers facing a similar situation with Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth?

I suspect the Steelers will now all of a sudden be the sexy pick to win the division moving forward, but I kind of liked it better when most had them finishing third. How about you?

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Jason

    Personally I prefer the “us against the world” or “we’re getting no respect” card but it’s nice to see that some “experts” can see that we were a play or 2 from winning the division last season and no AFC North team improved themselves enough to be the consensus pick.

  • Patrick

    Some guy on ESPN NFL says the Steelers are due for a “run of mediocrity”. Even so it seems impossible to get a feeling about this team right now. Lots of questions and no firm answers right now. Time will tell but I think they can win the division

  • steeltown

    Whatever.. I read this article the other day on NFL and had to laugh, nobody knows what they’re talking about anymore haha its all speculation and nobody knows exactly how to back up their opinion.

    We’ll see what happens, I fully expect the Steelers to bounce back and do better than 8-8, at the same time I think Cinci has really put together a good Team in recent yrs and of course the Ravens will always be competitive just like we are.. so trying to gauge it all is just silly, talking heads have to talk about something whether they make any sense or not

  • DAYSNWAYS

    The general consensus amongst NFL fans in the UK is we are 8-8 at best, some even suggesting we finish behind the Clowns!! Little do they know…

  • JC Chuta

    Last two times Steelers won Superbowl, they experienced similar “Media Snuff”. So, YES … I would prefer we fly through this season “under the radar”!

  • chris ward

    I like it better when everyone is sleeping on the Steelers. All of a sudden NFL.com picks the Steelers to win the division. Through out the offseason most of the articles on NFL.com made it look like the sky was falling in Pittsburgh.

  • treeher

    Injuries will determine what happens in AFC North. Rather than evaluate the starting 22, I’d like to see an article evaluating the depth of the teams. Stillers might not fare as well in this type of analysis.

  • chris ward

    I like it better when everyone is sleeping on the Steelers. All of a sudden the Steelers are the favorite to win the division. Through out the offseason the national media made it look like the sky was falling in Pittsburgh.

  • george

    I agree, I watched the Bengals Saturday and thought they looked dangerous.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I think this is just a knee jerk reaction. The people in the press are looking at our team and getting 2nd thoughts about their predictions. Here they have said, we have no shot, going to be mediocre at best, etc., but how bad do they look if we win the division? We are a sexy pick because they don’t want to look bad. If we are bad, every single one of them will say, see we told you so.

    I think they are realizing the following:

    1. What was this defense ranked last year? We have changed 3 people….Allen in for Lewis and Worilds/Jones in for Harrison and McLendon in for Hampton. What happens if these are all positive changes? What happens if McLendon can get to the QB when Hampton couldn’t? What happens when Allen causes more turnovers and is better than Lewis? What happens when we start to get pressure from the LBs again?

    2. They also look at Ben and this offense. What if Bell does change things? What if Ben gets this young offense to start rolling along and accomplishing things?

    This is all just nerves by the media. They look at our record last year, but now that they really look at the team from last year, they are beginning to wonder…did I misjudge?

  • Ken

    As hard as it is to say or admit, the Bengals are for real… We will have to deal with them. And for the first time in a very long time, Cleveland has actually improved. The ravens won’t be as good as last year, but they are still very good.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    No doubt this division will be contested on all sides. And we really won’t have a great sense of what this Steelers team is really made of until we get through an entire regular season game. BUT, I cannot stand these “wishing will make it so” articles that predict a Steelers demise. Tired of reading the same tired themes (old and slow) and contradictory statements (aging defense AND “loss of key veterans” … pick one and stick with it).

    The Steelers are always in the thick of things competing—analysts and “experts” be damned. They may want a collapse, but it’s not happening.

  • ATL96STEELER

    CIN has talent, probably the most in the DIV overall if you ask me…but they are avg. imo @ QB. Can Dunlap stay on the field? Newman is a retread from DAL @ CB when their CBs sucked. Point here is they have some questions/holes like every other team…we also have to see how they play with high media expectations.

  • RMSteeler

    Might be another tie breaker kind of year. Cincy and Browns are finally improving. No longer a two team race.

  • ATL96STEELER

    My thoughts on the DIV…of course every team has strengths and weaknesses. I don’t like the early bye (again), but the Steelers have the best QB in the DIV imo…if the OL keeps him upright, I think PIT will win 10+ games…I think CIN has the same type ability so the DIV record tie breaker will be huge this yr. SB hang over for BAL, 9-7 and CLE 8-8, just doesn’t have enough on OFC yet imo.

  • TrueSteelerForLife

    I Love being under the radar, but we’ll see what happens. There are positions at which we are one injury away from disaster

  • Brendon Glad

    i don’t think they will win the AFC North…but I DO happen to think they will win the AFC championship. *************HEALTH (or something resembling HEALTH) is the key to my feelings.
    But I see it shaking out with Cincy winning the North…folding in the playoffs.
    Baltimore finding life WAY more difficult than they think it will be without their 2 HOF’ers.
    Pittsburgh holding the line at 10-6…11-5…and if healthy, and making the run they would have made either in 2011 or last year if they hadn’t fallen completely apart physically in both.
    Does Cleveland deserve mention? There, I mentioned them.

  • Brendon Glad

    I like that too…same way I love when the experts ignore Ben Roethlisberger as a great QB. Yeah, it annoys me…but I love it more than I hate it.
    Love the chips-on-shoulders. In football, it’s a big thing. Probably moreso than any other sport in the world…even boxing/mma/etc…Not sure why, but a good chip, well-placed…goes a LONG LONG way in the NFL.

  • Brendon Glad

    Cincy will be a BIG handful…especially during the regular season. I’m counting on them choking in the big moment more than I’m counting on them to actually be a lesser-team than the Steelers.
    I think both teams will be a huge part of the post-season mix.
    If I were predicting:
    HOU/NE/DEN/CIN….then PIT at #5 and Indy/Balt fighting out #6. Chiefs in #8, in the mix til late.
    And HOU, NE, DEN, PIT, will be the final 4. Then, it’s anybody’s guess. But I feel very good about this team, health provided.

  • Brendon Glad

    In a depth game, the Bengals are a beast. For all of Mike Brown’s idiocy on many levels…the actual FINDING of talent is not his problem. It’s the mixing-together/team atmosphere part where he continuously fails.
    Unfortunately, for us, after several decades he’s finally gotten “off-of” the “foster-home” “help a struggling child” mindset, more than in his past.
    I did NOT like watching that happen.

  • Brendon Glad

    Yep, I agree 100%.
    I’ll take Ben over every single QB in the division when all the chips are on the table. I’ll take him against Peyton and Schaub too. I will NOT take him against Brady…but know that I still have a hell of a fighting shot. And they have problems to deal with just like everyone else…(unavoidable-distractions are NOT fun things for Belichick)
    Cincy scares me…but despite eliminating most of the “talented-scumbags” from their roster…they still have a bunch of”talented NFL-non-champions” on their roster. Therefore, they may not be ready to play their best games when the “chips-are-on-the-table”.
    As an aside, that was a much more troubling aspect of the JH signing by Cincy. Once he was gone, I far preferred it have been Cleveland. Because even though not a verbal-leader…he IS verbal…so if asked to be a leader, he may teach those young pups more things than I would hope he does.

  • Brendon Glad

    Luckily, for us…the definition of “collapse” with regards to the Steelers is probably 7-9.
    But I’ll admit…the championship level quality starters is slightly (not HUGELY, but slightly) less than in, say 2011-2012. So if we have the same amount of injuries as happened in those 2 years, it could get way uglier than I’m envisioning.
    In early November of both of those seasons, I saw the Steelers as the favorite to win the AFC…(and I’m more of a worrier than “eternal optimist” type of dude).
    This year, as of now, I still love their chances…but I think lack of health to the extent of 2011-2012 fashion could kill a team in this new NFL. We now are dealing with way better depth at the QB position among our opponents in the league. Margin of error gets less and less.

  • charles

    Toughest division champ has a clear SB shot. Maybe against NFC west champ.

  • ATL96STEELER

    JH…right now they have him playing OLB in a 4-3…looked good vs the Falcons. We know he’s better rushing the passer than in coverage so it will be interesting to see how they use him once the bright lights come on.

    I still think it’s different to play under expectations above and beyond your own. Zimmerman is a solid DC, but I’m not really sold on the OC.

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