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Pro Football Focus did a simulation of this upcoming NFL season 10,000 times and the results had the Steelers finishing last in the AFC North. Yes, even behind the Bengals.
According to PFF, the Steelers have a 9.6 percent chance to win the AFC North in 2021, while the Bengals are at 9.7 percent. The Browns are the favorites at 46.3 percent, followed by the Ravens at 34.4 percent.
Overall, PFF projects the Steelers will finish with 7.6 wins, which means the Steelers would have their first losing season since 2003. PFF also gives the Steelers the fifth-worst chance to win their division in the NFL, behind the Panthers, Broncos, Eagles Texans and Lions.
The Bengals are projected to finish with 7.7 wins, so the difference isn't much. However, I'm sure most Steelers fans would feel seven wins for a Bengals team that went 4-11-1 last year is a little rich. And I know the Steelers collapsed down the stretch last season, but they still managed to win 12 games. So, it appears that the PFF Elo rating system looked more into the back half of the Steelers' 2020 performance and not the beginning when they started the season 11-0.