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Steelers Tabbed as Biggest Offseason Winner in AFC North

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Russell Wilson Steelers Quarterback

Following the 2024 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers still had the worst odds to win the AFC North at +700, according to BetOnline.ag. The Baltimore Ravens are the favorites at +125, followed by the Cincinnati Bengals (+175) and Cleveland Browns (+500).

In a recent article, Ryan Fowler of Bleacher Report tabbed each NFL division’s biggest 2024 offseason winner. In regards to the AFC North, Fowler thinks the Pittsburgh Steelers did the most to improve their roster.

“The Pittsburgh Steelers’ ability to pry Patrick Queen away from Baltimore was one thing, but their draft haul was flat-out sensational,” Fowler wrote. “They added arguably the top tackle/guard prospect in the class in Troy Fautanu and the physically imposing Zach Frazier at center. Pittsburgh also landed uber-competitive wideout Roman Wilson and scooped up Bednarik Award-winning linebacker Payton Wilson late on Day 2. The Steelers’ haul was a masterclass in evaluation and balancing team needs/best player available.

“The Steelers still have questions to answer under center with the duo of Russell Wilson and Justin Fields, but competition never hurts. Expectations of the playoffs should bring the best out of whichever signal-caller takes the majority of snaps in 2024.”

The AFC North has been the best division in the NFL since 2020, base on win % in non-division games 62.6% (106-63), according to Warren Sharp of Sharp Football.

The AFC North win percentage is by far superior than the other divisions — 54.7% (94-78) – NFC West, 52.9% (91-81) – AFC West, 51.5% (88-83) – AFC East, 49.1% (84-87) – NFC East, 48.5% (83-88) – NFC North, 43.0% (74-98) – NFC South, 37.8% (65-107) – AFC South.

“If you double the sample, from the last 4 years to the last 8, the Steelers track record within the AFC North is even more impressive: 71.9% (34-13-1) – Steelers 54.2% (26-22) – Ravens.38.5% (18-29-1) – Browns, 35.4% (17-31) – Bengals,” Sharp wrote.

“Insanely, the Steelers have virtually the same record vs each team the last 8 years: 12-4 vs Bengals, 11-4-1 vs Browns, 11-5 vs Ravens.”

All four AFC North teams finished above . 500 in 2023, becoming the first division since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 to have all four of its teams finish with a winning record.

The 2024 NFL schedule is slotted to be released this Wednesday but the opponents for all 32 clubs are already known. In addition to their AFC North opponents, the Steelers will face the AFC West and NFC East in 2024. They’ll also play the Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons. The Steelers schedule is one of the toughest in the NFL, according to strength of schedule.

On paper, the Steelers toughest game in 2024 is against the back-to-back Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Overall, they’ll have the third-toughest strength of schedule in 2024, with their opponents holding a combined win percentage of .533. Only the Browns and Ravens have a tougher strength of schedule. That’s a steep price to pay for finishing third in arguably the toughest division in football.

The Steelers will face five playoff teams from last year in the Chiefs, Ravens, Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. Every team in the AFC North last year had a winning, record so that explains why the top three teams with the toughest strength of schedule are from said division. The Steelers schedule is thus, quite brutal.

 

 

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