Mike Tomlin’s Steelers won their first 11 games of the season, but lost four of their last five, including an embarrassing 48-37 home playoff loss to the Brown. Ben Rothlisberger (3,803 yards, 33 TDs) should have another big year, but if the Steelers are to be a serious threat in the AFC, their running game must improve. That’s why they drafted Alabama’s Najee Harris (1,466 rushing yards, 26 TDs/43 receptions, 423 yards, 4 TDs) to get things done on the ground.
Baltimore will once again by led by dual threat QB Lamar Jackson (2,757 passing yards, 26 TDs/1,005 rushing yards, 7 TDs). If Jackson improves as a passer, the Ravens could make a lot of noise in 2021.
Tennessee should battle Indianapolis for the AFC South title. The Titans are led by quarterback Ryan Tannehill (3,817 yards, 33 TDs) and running back Derrick Henry (2,127 yards, 17 TDs). The Titans added former Atlanta All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones (51 receptions, 771 yards, 3 TDs in 9 games) to pair with speed wideout A.J. Brown (70 receptions, 1,075 yards, 11 TDs). The Titans could be scary good on offense, and if they shore up the defense, they could contend for the AFC title.
Buffalo should be the team to beat in the AFC East. The Bills finished 13-3 a year ago and have a rising star in QB Josh Allen (4,544 yards, 37 TDs) and a big-play WR in Stefon Diggs (127 receptions, 1,535 yards, 8 TDs). Buffalo needs to improve its running game, but it has a solid defense and should hold off Miami and New England to win the AFC East.
Now we turn our attention to the 2021 college football season, where before a game has even been played Texas and OU made huge news with their announcement to leave the Big 12 for the SEC. The plan is for the league’s two major programs to join the SEC in July of 2025, but many believe both schools will depart well before that date and each pay the $80 million fee to depart early.
UT and OU’s move will make the SEC the first super conference with 16 teams. The SEC has not announced how it will restructure the league (four 4-pod teams or 2 divisions with 8 teams each). Texas’s joining the SEC will rekindle the UT-Texas / A&M rivalry and could move Alabama out of the Western Division to the Eastern Division (I’m sure the rest of the SEC East is excited about that prospect!).
So where does that leave the remaining Big 12 schools?