Why the Pittsburgh Steelers will repeat as AFC North Champions in 2021

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2021 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.

It is simple how it works. We provide you the scenario, reasons why it will or won’t happen, and then our prediction for what we think will take place.

Let’s get to the scenario…

Scenario: The Steelers will repeat as AFC North Champions in 2021

Why it will happen: A lot has been made of the Steelers’ 2021 regular season schedule. Not just the addition of a 17th game, but just how difficult their schedule is based on 2020 win-loss total. The problem with basing an upcoming strength of schedule with last season’s win-loss totals is just how drastic teams change from one year to the next. Think about the turnover in playoff teams every year. As we sit here right now, on paper the AFC North will again be the NFL’s toughest division, but just a couple injuries can change everything. Think back to the 2019 Steelers. Without Ben Roethlisberger it altered the team’s entire season. Think about the 2020 Dallas Cowboys. Without Dak Prescott Dallas was a rudderless ship. I believe the Steelers will be better than most people believe, and I also see their schedule softening based on what the past has shown us. It might be a stretch to see them winning the division again, but they always play the AFC North tough. I predicted them to finish 4-2 in the division, but the other teams might destroy each other and help the Steelers repeat as division champs.

Why it won’t happen: The Steelers’ schedule is riddled with teams where there won’t be much change, barring injury. We all know how good the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills will be in 2021. Without a key player getting hurt, that won’t change from one year to the next. Throw in the fact the Steelers have had by far the most roster turnover in the AFC North and it will be an uphill climb to repeat as champions. It isn’t impossible, but it certainly isn’t considered likely as the Steelers prepare for training camp this week.

Prediction: As much as I would love to see the Steelers win the division in 2021, I just don’t see it happening. I do see them as a playoff team, but the road they have to repeat is not just long and winding, but daunting. The Steelers would need a lot of help to soften up that schedule, and plenty of bounces to go their way if they want to win the AFC North this season. If I were to give my prediction for the division, I would have three teams making the postseason, again, from the division.

Baltimore Ravens: 12-5 *
Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-6 *
Cleveland Browns: 11-6 *
Cincinnati Bengals: 8-9
*- Playoff Team

Check out yesterday’s ‘30 Scenarios in 30 Days’ prediction:

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.

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