2020 Offseason Questions: How Big Is The Gap Between Ravens And Steelers (And Rest Of AFC North)?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.

The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.

How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: How big is the ‘gap’ that exists between the Baltimore Ravens and the Steelers, or the rest of the division?

Last season, the Ravens put the rest of the league on notice with a fantastic 14-2 regular season that saw them finish with an average of 33.2 points per game while allowing 17.6 points per game. That’s a margin of 15.6 points per game, and we just recently talked about how fantastic the 1975 Steelers  15 points-per-game margin was.

Granted, that was in a lower-scoring era, but nevertheless, the point is that they won their games by an average of greater than two touchdowns. That doesn’t happen all too often in the NFL. And there is reason to believe that they should be even more talented in 2020.

That doesn’t mean they’re going to go 14-2 again, of course. That’s the best record they’ve ever posted, though of course you can’t post a record much better. The question is, where are the Steelers, the Browns, and the Bengals in relation to Baltimore?

The Steelers arguably have the best defense in the division. They could realistically have the best passing game if Ben Roethlisberger is healthy. Is it really so out of left field to suggest that they could win the AFC North?

The Browns will have their star receivers healthy this year. They have majorly upgraded their offensive line, and brought in a new tight end. They’ve replaced their bumbling head coach with somebody who finally aligns with what the organization has been trying to do for years. where are they?

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