4. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers got themselves off the mat on Monday night, beating up the Cincinnati Bengals to get to 1-3 on the year. That win, combined with Cleveland’s upset victory in Baltimore, brings the Steelers to within a game of the AFC North lead.
The star for the Steelers against Cincinnati was running back James Conner, who gained 125 yards from scrimmage and scored a touchdown. Conner did suffer an ankle injury late in that game, however, ceding reps to backup Jaylen Samuels down the stretch.
The Steelers need Conner healthy for this week, when they take on the Ravens at home in a game that could define their season. Baltimore has come back to earth after a 2-0 start, losing consecutive games to the Chiefs and Browns to fall to .500.
Pittsburgh may be without Ben Roethlisberger for the year, but its dominant defensive showing on Monday demonstrated that the season is still salvageable. The Browns opened the door for them by handing the Ravens a big division loss, and the Steelers need to drive through it by beating Baltimore while they’re down.
Conner’s status is up in the air right now, but the Steelers need him to be healthy to give themselves the best shot to beat their arch-rivals. If Pittsburgh falls to 1-4, it could signal a long year in the Steel City.