Cincinnati Bengals: Two weeks of preseason shows how strong AFC North could be
By Steve Rivera
If the Pittsburgh Steelers were a dumpster fire in 2018, don’t look for a repeat of that in 2019. Heading into Week 3 of the exhibition season, whatever hangover might have been feared can be put to rest. At 2-0 with a game Sunday at Tennessee, any hopes of a continued implosion are over.
That’s bad news for an AFC North who might have thought the Steelers would not or could not recover from last season. With all the distractions elsewhere, Pittsburgh looks to be on the way back and in the mix for a run at media darling, the Browns.
Nowhere is the contrast greater from what the Steelers faced last season than with JuJu Smith-Schuster. The 22-year-old has taken on the role of mentor and team leader, and looks all the world to be what Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell never could be.
"”Obviously, all eyes are on me,” Smith-Schuster said before practice Wednesday, ”and the biggest question is, ‘How are the Steelers going to be without two great players that we used to have?’ And, ‘How is JuJu going to do without AB?”’"
If, and it’s a big ”if”, Ju-Ju and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can turn the page on the rampant dysfunction that was the 2018 Steelers, the Cincinnati Bengals and the rest of the AFC North could find themselves looking up at the one time standard bearer of the division.