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Steelers News: How many teams can the AFC North send to the postseason?

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Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL: DEC 01 Browns at Steelers Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It has been a one-of-a-kind offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020. Unable to attend most player pro days and participating in the NFL’s first virtual draft, the Steelers keep pushing forward toward a return to football activities. Just because the Steelers are unable to hold their typical OTA’s doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at if the AFC North can get three teams to qualify for the playoffs.

Let’s get to the news:

  • The AFC North could pull off two wildcard teams in 2020

AFC North has the best chance to produce 3 playoff teams

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

I saw an interesting question posed by the folks at Pro Football Focus.

The football stats site asked, “Which AFC division, if any, is most likely to send three teams to the playoffs this season?”

Keep in mind, there are seven potential spots this year because of the new wild-card format.

Last year, the South and East sent two teams each. The New England Patriots (12-4) won the East. The Bills (10-6) were the top wild card. The Houston Texans (10-6) were the lowest-seeded division winner out of the South. The Tennessee Titans (9-7) were the second wild-card team and managed to win two road playoff games.

The top two clubs in the AFC — the 14-2 Baltimore Ravens (North) and the 12-4 Kansas City Chiefs (West) — won divisions where they were the only representatives in the bracket.

The Steelers (8-8) were the seventh team last year, which meant the first team out of the mix.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


  • The Steelers have an impressive sack streak going on

Steelers’ pass rushers aiming for history

By: Jeff Hartman, DK Pittsburgh Sports

The Steelers’ defense is not a concern for the fan base heading into 2020. The addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick and Steven Nelson helped to solidify the secondary, an area of weakness which plagued the defense for years.

With the Steelers now sporting a top-tier defense, you would think the unit could sit back and just do what they do. After racking up 54 sacks, 20 interceptions, 18 fumble recoveries and 83 pass-defenses in 2019, this unit is determined to get better. How are they doing this? Players like T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, Cam Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Ola Adeniyi and even Dan McCullers have solicited the guidance of pass-rushing guru Brandon Jordan.

Dupree has worked with Jordan in the past, and it begs the question whether this additional work had anything to do with Dupree’s breakout season last year, when he tallied 11.5 sacks. This year, Dupree decided to bring along some teammates to get additional work.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


  • Several Steelers players have a lot to prove in the upcoming season

Boom or Bust: Steelers With High Expectations in 2020

By: Connor Deitrich

Heading into the 2020 season, there are high expectations for the whole Steelers team.

They return pretty much their whole elite defense from last year. On top of that, they get back their hall of fame quarterback. With a plethora of talented young players to pair with Ben Roethlisberger on offense, the unit should be light years better than it was in 2019. This all adds up to high expectations for a team coming off an 8-8 season. There are a few players specifically who have high expectations, some of whom will rise to the occasion and some who could bust.

Zach Banner: Boom

“#72 has reported as eligible” became a bit of a meme in 2019 and turned Zach Banner into a fan favorite in the process. Heading into 2020, though, Banner has his eyes set on much more than being the sixth offensive lineman who gets to run some routes. He has stated that his goal is to be a starting tackle this season. A strong training camp will likely earn Banner the starting spot at right tackle. Consider this a prediction. Zach Banner will win the starting job, perform well in 2020, and earn himself another contract in Pittsburgh after the season.

Despite being a meme, turning on Banner’s tape from 2019 won’t show you anything to laugh it. Instead, you’ll see a massive man with a mean streak and ridiculous strength. Most of his reps last year came in the run game, and there are numerous clips of Banner bullying opposing defenders. He’s a good athlete for a player with his absurd size, too. Banner has become a fan favorite on social media and is a good leader and person in the locker room as well. The team should be wanting to keep him in Pittsburgh for a long time. If he performs like he did last year as the full-time starter, they won’t have much of a choice. Zach Banner will meet his high expectations in 2020.

Ulysees Gilbert III: Bust

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


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