• Russo's Playbook

AFC North Off-Season Outlook

Here's our AFC North Off-Season Outlook. You can find our other divisional outlooks on our website in the NFL Off-Season 2021 tab, along with our other NFL Off-Season articles.


If you'd prefer to watch us discuss this & the other divisions instead of reading, click here.


Pittsburgh Steelers


I think the Steelers are in a terrible spot having Big Ben back. He can't be that same guy that won them Super Bowls & led them to the playoffs almost every year anymore. They had some departures in free agency, most notably Steve Nelson and Bud Dupree, so their defense took a hit but they can recover with a good draft. My biggest problem with the Steelers is Big Ben. They need to find a QB for the future. The other 3 teams in the AFC North have their young QB's for the future, the Steelers need to get it together in that aspect. The last 5 or so games of the season is what I think you can expect out of Ben Roethlisberger this year, not the 11-0 start they got out too. They re-signed Juju which can help him obviously, but here at Russo's Playbook we think father time has caught up to Big Ben.


Cincinnati Bengals


The Bengals are building a nice young team with some good additions in free agency and of course a very good QB in Joe Burrows. But, they need to improve their O-Line & protect him. He went down with a season-ending injury and that cannot happen again. They're in a tough division so realistically making noise this year won’t be the case for them.


Baltimore Ravens


The Ravens biggest need is STILL at wide receiver. They added Sammy Watkins, but he’s not going to cut it. They need another weapon outside, preferably a bigger body to go opposite of Hollywood Brown. They do need to get some edge rush help as well but all in all they're a good sound football team almost all around & we are looking at them to compete for the division & probably the favorites to win it.


Cleveland Browns


The Browns are trying to load up on the defensive side of the ball this off-season with some great signings in safety John Johnson and cornerback Troy Hill. They also brought in Clowney for a visit but no deal was done yet. I think for the draft they’ll look to load up on younger offensive linemen as well as a receiver, especially if they trade away OBJ. All in all, the Browns have a great team to build with and as long as Baker Mayfield stays the course, they’ll be fighting with the Ravens for the division consistently. The Bengals may become competition in the future as well, with the Steelers probably dropping off to the bottom of this division.


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