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Steelers at No. 18 in NBC’s Peter King’s offseason NFL power rankings | TribLIVE.com
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Steelers at No. 18 in NBC’s Peter King’s offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Adamski
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During the Bill Cowher/Mike Tomlin eras for the Pittsburgh Steelers (since 1992), they have much more often than not been one of the NFL’s better teams. A perennial playoff contender – if not, at times, a legitimate Super Bowl contender – the Steelers have had just three losing records over the past 27 seasons.

By any measure, they’ve consistently been above average.

But the national pundits are beginning to say that’s not the case anymore.

Less than a week after ESPN pegged the Steelers as the 16th-best of the 32 NFL teams, on Monday the offseason power rankings were released by respected longtime NFL reporter Peter King.

It was even less kind to the Steelers.

The Steelers were at 18th in the NFL, just ahead of Oakland and Jacksonville and one spot behind Atlanta.

The Raiders (4-12), Jaguars (5-11) and Falcons (7-9) – like the Steelers (9-6-1 in 2018) – missed the playoffs last season.

Here is what King wrote in his piece about the Steelers:

It’s going to be peaceful in Pittsburgh without the weekly (daily?) questions about Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. But with all the distractions and discord last year, the Steelers still averaged 26.8 points per game, and I’ll be surprised if they reach those heights this year. Steelers players might find it more placid coming to work and games this year with Antonio Brown 2,300 miles away, but how are they replacing Brown’s 115 catches a year over the last five seasons? With James Washington? Donte Moncrief? Doubt it. More likely, Pittsburgh turns to the man who cost them first, second and third-round picks on draft day, linebacker Devin Bush, and hopes he can be the sideline-to-sideline presence Ryan Shazier was until that fateful night in Cincinnati late in the 2017 season.

The Steelers are graded by King as third among the four AFC North teams behind Cleveland (No. 11) and Baltimore (No. 12) and ahead of No. 30 Cincinnati. Going by the order of King’s power rankings alone, he sees the AFC playoff field as Kansas City (No. 1 overall in his rankings), New England (No. 2), Indianapolis (No. 3), L.A. Chargers (No. 5), Cleveland and Baltimore.

The most recent time the Steelers finished among the bottom half of the league standings was 2003, when they went 6-10 in the season before drafting Ben Roethlisberger.

Hey, Steeler Nation, get the latest news about the Pittsburgh Steelers here.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Steelers
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