Mid-summer is the time for season-wide predictions in the NFL. While many writers and insiders are putting the Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 record at around 9-8, one reporter is taking it to the next level. He’s not only predicting a history-making season for the black & gold, but a 17-game campaign that the AFC North has never before seen.
Nate Davis of USA Today published his 2023 win/loss predictions on Monday. He has the Steelers going 11-6, but not making the playoffs. If that comes to fruition, Pittsburgh would be the 8th seed in the AFC, and the first in history to finish 8th with an 11-win season. Only one 11-win team in the last 20 years has not made the playoffs: the 2008 New England Patriots.
Davis’ predictions would also make AFC North history. He has all four teams in the division finishing with at least 10 wins. That has never happened since the division was created in 2002. In fact, you’d have to go back to the 2000 NFC Central to find the closest equivalent. That’s when four out of the five teams had at least 9-win seasons.
The most competition the AFC North has ever been was in 2014.
- Pittsburgh 11-5
- Cincinnati 10-5-1
- Baltimore 10-6
- Cleveland 7-9
Another close year for the division, in terms of competition was 2009.
- Cincinnati 10-6
- Baltimore 9-7
- Pittsburgh 9-7
- Cleveland 5-11
AFC North with four 10+ win teams seems unlikely. But if there's one division where it could happen this year, it's the AFC North. https://t.co/KXKnygo6gv— Josh Rowntree (@JRown32) July 24, 2023
Davis’ projections would also have the fate of the season coming down to Week 18 in Baltimore, probably the safest of all his predictions.
Could you see the AFC North running the league this season? Rate these predictions in the comments.