Ben Roethlisberger is eyeing a return from injury to play a seventeenth season in Pittsburgh. After the Steelers posted a video of Roethlisberger throwing on Saturday, fans have reason to believe that Pittsburgh could be back to form after a disappointing 2019.
But is Roethlisberger's return enough to declare the Steelers the AFC North favorite in 2020? Nope.
4. Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow or no Burrow, the Bengals are a ways away. With an inevitable trade of franchise quarterback Andy Dalton on the horizon, the Bengals will be starting over in 2020, and that might be the best thing that can be said about them. Fortunately, the pressure to win won't weigh too heavily on second-year head coach Zac Taylor, and a focus on developing young talent will make every win a cherry on top of the Bengals season.
3. Cleveland Browns
Despite their place in the lower middle of this list, the truth about the Browns is that they have the range to finish anywhere from worst to first. They're saturated with elite talent on both sides, and a new promising head coach could lead a resurgence with the best top-to-bottom roster in the division. The only problem is, the talent has also been the problem in Cleveland. Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. and Myles Garrett, three potential franchise cornerstones, let their egos pollute the culture the locker room, and their distractions doomed Cleveland last year.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
Roethlisberger will be 38 when the 2020 season begins. While his return should spark improvement, neither he or the Steelers are what they once were. The Killer Bs have fallen apart (some have fallen out of the league) and the influx of talent that Roethlisberger was able to lean on his prime is now gone. The one thing he can take solace in heading into this season is a rocker room clean of all the drama that ruined his last full season.
1. Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson is the future and present of the AFC North. Roethlisberger has built an esteemed reputation as a quarterback in his lengthy career, but in 2020, Jackson is just the superior player, and is only getting better. While he's shown nothing in the postseason, he has no weaknesses in the regular season. The Ravens were a powerhouse under Jackson's leadership in 2019, but their playoff failure will dig a nagging chip into their shoulder to be even better in 2020.