Steelers Impact: Brady’s Suspension


Courts ruled today that Tom Brady will have to serve a four-game suspension levied by the NFL; does the suspension make the Steelers the AFC’s favorite to get to the Super Bowl?

With Peyton Manning riding off into the sunset after a victory in the most recent Super Bowl, the New England Patriots have been considered the number one contender to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LI. With the court’s ruling today, that Super Bowl run could be in jeopardy.

While the Patriots’ first four games of the season might not be their most challenging, there are certainly some hurdles that could trip up a Brady-less squad. A journey to Arizona in week 1 is not the way the team would like to start their 2016 campaign.

In 2015, the NFC West Champion Cardinals kept opposing offenses to single digit point totals three times. Cardinal opponents scored 20 points or fewer in another six contests. Teams only managed 30 or more points in three games against the Cardinals (the Cardinals went 2-1, and 2 of the games were against the Seahawks).

Without Brady the Patriots will have a handful against Arizona’s stifling defense. When their formidable defense isn’t on the field, the Cardinals bring out an offense that was first in total yards and second in points in 2015.

While the next three opponents aren’t world beaters they’ll still be tough without Brady. The Texans have a game breaker in J.J. Watt, who will be targeting the man in Brady’s place. The Dolphins split with the Patriots in 2015. The Bills lost both 2015 contests against the Patriots but were only behind by a single possession in each.

Next: Steelers Mock Draft

The Bengals might be another contender for the AFC crown with Manning out of the picture, but their roster is worse than it was in 2015, and they barely beat a rusty Ben Roethlisberger in a week 8 match up in 2015 (Roethlisberger was coming back from the knee injury he suffered against the Rams earlier in the season). A loss for the Bengals in that game would have evened the teams’ records.

The door might be ajar here for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The AFC West will be something to watch, as the Chiefs put on a powerful showing over that back end of the 2015 season. A healthy Andrew Luck will also be looking to rebound in the lowly AFC South while the young Jaguars attempt a climb into relevance.

Overall, the news of Brady’s suspension will certainly shake-up the composition of the AFC. With Manning retiring and Brady being suspended, these quarterbacks are shaping the landscape of football well into the twilights of their careers.