On paper, the Pittsburgh Steelers should be much higher in NFL power rankings. After all, they still boast a likely Hall of Fame quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, have an up-and-coming running back in James Conner and two bona fide receiving threats in JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown.
But the 9-6-1 record and failed playoff appearance tells you what you need to know: this team has problems.
A lot of them.
First, who knows if Brown will be in Pittsburgh after all that transpired late in 2018. He’s been openly flirting with the 49ers this offseason, and one can call into question the locker room dysfunction between Brown, Roethlisberger and head coach Mike Tomlin for not properly managing it.
Where will it stop? It’s anyone’s guess.
Plus, the Steelers defense needs help, particularly at linebacker and within the secondary.
Because of all the factors, Pittsburgh can’t rise any higher in our NFL power rankings to kick off the league new year.