Predicting AFC North standings after 2024 NFL schedule release

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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We've had some time to digest the complete 2024 NFL schedule, so now seems like a good time to make some predictions, starting with Cincinnati's division.

On paper, the AFC North might be the best division in the entire NFL. After all, all four of the teams in the division finished the 2023 season with a winning record, and three of the four teams qualified for postseason play. The Bengals were the only team out of the bunch who failed to make the playoffs, and they'll be looking to bounce back in the coming campaign. All four teams could very well be in the contention conversation again this year.

With that said, let's look at how the division might shake out in 2024.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-8)

The Steelers finished 10-7 and made the playoffs last season despite inconsistent quarterback play. They likely improved at that position over the offseason by swapping out Kenny Pickett for Russell Wilson and Justin Fields, but it remains to be seen how much they'll improve with that duo.

But picking the Steelers to finish last in the division here is more due to the difficulty of their schedule than it is an indictment on them as a team. Pittsburgh will play a brutal final stretch of the season. How brutal? Here's a recap from the Ravens official site:

"Some are calling Pittsburgh's gauntlet from Week 11 through the Week 18 one of the most difficult scheduling stretches they've ever seen. The Steelers will end the season facing eight straight opponents that made the playoffs last season, including two games against the Ravens and a Christmas game in Kansas City against the defending two-time Super Bowl champion Chiefs."