In a recent bold predictions article by Adam Schein of NFL.com, the Cincinnati Bengals winning more games than the Pittsburgh Steelers makes the list. While I appreciate Schein’s consistent enthusiasm for the Bengals and the season to come, it’s not necessarily a bold thought that the Bengals could win more games than the Steelers.
Schein considered this to be a bold prediction because the Bengals haven’t been good recently and the Steelers are the Steelers. That part makes sense. That being said, there are several reasons why I think the Bengals truly could win more games than Pittsburgh.
First and foremost, the Steelers have the toughest schedule in the entire league this year. That right there is going to make it tough for them to make much of a splash. Finishing first in the AFC North last season means that they’ll have to face other division winners in 2021 including the Chiefs, Titans, and Bills on their schedule and the Seahawks as well.
Secondly, the Steelers got off to an 11-0 start a year ago but sputtered down the stretch. They crashed and burned hard and the team didn’t get better this offseason. They lost key players and Ben Roethlisberger is 39 years old and not a good 39 years old either. His past injuries have clearly been catching up to him in recent years.
Third, when it comes to comparing teams, it almost always comes down to the quarterbacks. In this case, the Bengals have the better quarterback. Joe Burrow is healthy and has been listed as a dark-horse MVP candidate this offseason. Also, as I mentioned earlier, Big Ben is 39 years old and inching closer to the end of his career.
The Bengals winning more games than Pittsburgh is realistic.
The reason most people have the Bengals in the basement of the AFC North is that even when Pittsburgh is down, they’re still a respectable team. Take the 2019 season for example. Roethlisberger missed most of that season and the Steelers, led by Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges, went 8-8 and nearly made the playoffs.
Mike Tomlin is a far better coach than Zac Taylor, which is another notch in the Steelers’ belt. Tomlin is also why the Steelers have been so good. He was also the Steelers’ head coach when they crashed and burned last year and when it comes down to it, he’s not on the field actually playing.
The Steelers might have one of the best wide receiver rooms in the NFL but guess what? The Bengals have a pretty darn good one too.
At the end of the day, I get why Cincinnati winning more games than Pittsburgh is listed as a bold prediction but truthfully, no one will be the least bit surprised if this does indeed happen.