The AFC North is arguably the best division in the National Football League. Even after two of the four teams lost to non-division opponents over the weekend, the AFC North still owns three of the seven playoff spots heading into Week 9. The Ravens, Steelers, and Browns own the fourth, sixth, and seventh seeds, respectively.
Now, the Cincinnati Bengals have entered the chat. While the Steelers and Browns are in the playoff picture, the men in stripes share a 4-3 record with Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
However, the NFL standings are not representative of how the teams are playing. As a result, the AFC North Power Rankings after Week 8 look different than they have all season.
4) Pittsburgh Steelers
For the first time in the 2023 NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves where they belong: At the bottom of the AFC North Power Rankings.
Another week, another Pittsburgh attempt to bring their offense online late in a game. For a moment, it appeared that the Steelers were on their way to another late-game offensive onslaught to grab a victory from the hands of defeat. Near the end of the third quarter, Mitch Trubisky, in for injured Kenny Pickett, found George Pickens for a 22-yard touchdown pass. However, that would be the end of their scoring output on the day, as they fell to Jacksonville, 20-10.
Pittsburgh’s offense continues to struggle, as they only managed 199 total yards. The combination of Pickett and Trubisky accounted for 136 yards passing, one touchdown, and one interception. Nevertheless, despite their most recent loss, the Steelers are still second in the division and sixth in the conference standings.
But the stats don’t lie. Through seven games, their offense ranks 31st in points scored. They rank 13th in points allowed this season but that puts them behind the rest of their division rivals. Their -34 point differential is, by far, the worst of the teams in playoff contention and the worst in the division.
It would be premature to count out a Mike Tomlin-led squad. However, some of their flaws are beginning to affect their on-field results. Pittsburgh is a team that has overcome its limitations to this point and it could be to the point where their defense is not good enough to make up for their offense.
We will see how quickly the Steelers can bounce back as they take on Tennessee on Thursday Night Football. So, for at least one evening, we will all be honorary Titans fans.