July 25, 2019
This week we get the first glimpse of what the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers will look like as training camp ’19 opened today.
This will mark the 54th annual summer ritual at St. Vincent’s College and the first on the scene were Maurkice Pouncey and Ramon Foster. For those who dislike Mike Tomlin as head coach, you will have to deal with Coach T for at least two more seasons as today it was announced he has been awarded a one-year extension so he is under contract for this and next season. The deal reportedly provides an option for the 2022 season as well. Said team President Art Rooney II:
“Mike is one of the most successful head coaches in the National Football League, and we are confident in his leadership to continue to lead our team as we pursue our goal of winning another championship.”
Tomlin followed that up with this commentary:
“I am very appreciative of this contract extension and opportunity and want to thank Art Rooney II and everyone in the organization for the support in my first 12 seasons. We have a goal of winning the organization's seventh Super Bowl championship, and I couldn't be more excited about this upcoming season.”
So how competitive will the AFC North be this season? Certainly not the best division in football as per one writer which you will read below. The Browns are supposed to be the team to beat, Baltimore is coming in as defending division champs, and the Steelers have to prove that missing the playoffs in 2018 was just a fluke. Cincinnati? They are horrible.
Ranking NFL divisions by degree of difficulty
Michael McClymont, theScore.com
The landscape of the NFL has shifted in recent years. The Green Bay Packers have missed the playoffs the last two seasons, Tom Brady and Drew Brees are well into their 40s, and the Cleveland Browns are expected to be good. With all this said, it's time to re-evaluate each division and determine which is the best in football, from easiest to win to hardest.
#6. AFC North
The AFC North has undergone perhaps the biggest makeover. Once ruled by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, the perennial doormat Cleveland Browns are now the favorite to win the division.
The Steelers lost perhaps their two most talented players in Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell, and the Ravens lost key contributors on the defensive side via free agency. The division is up for the taking.
The Browns recognized this new reality and, after years of building, identified this as the time to strike, trading for superstar receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and pass-rusher Olivier Vernon a year after adding Jarvis Landry and draft picks Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb.
The Cincinnati Bengals, who haven't won a playoff game since 1990, are moving forward with a first-year head coach and are expected to finish in the basement for the second straight year.
While the Steelers and Ravens should still challenge for division supremacy, the Browns are now considered the team to beat.
For the record they have the AFC West as the best division.
UFC 240 is on Saturday and here are my quick predictions on the major fights of the card (which I only consider two MAJOR):
Co-Main event, Cris Cyborg vs. Felicia Spencer
In watching the buildup for this fight, the UFC countdowns and Embedded features, Spencer is seen not in training but just cavorting around Canada and she has no appearance of a UFC fighter. The little I did see of her, she seemed slow and without the skills of a Cris Cyborg. Still she thinks she is going to win…right.
I think this matchup is a complete and utterly bad joke. Spencer I don’t believe knows who she is climbing into the Octagon with. This is going to be ugly and Spencer is going to regret taking this fight. If she somehow wins, then in my opinion that will be the biggest upset in MMA history. But I give her NO chance to win. Cyborg by vicious KO in less than one minute.
Main event, Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar
Great, great matchup. Could go either way. This could be Edgar’s last shot at a title. Holloway is coming off a disappointing loss to Dustin Poirier but I think he is the better all around fighter here and wins a close decision.
Oh yes…the Pittsburgh Pirates. It just keeps getting worse for the Bucs. Losers this afternoon makes it five in a row for the Buccos, now with a record of 46-56 and in last place…again. They are 8 ½ behind the Cubs and ½ behind the Reds who are in fourth now.