Oddsmakers expect a ditto of last season’s final AFC North standings, and we agree. Despite improvements throughout the division, Pittsburgh remains the class of the bunch.
The AFC North’s matchups against the AFC South and NFC North could lead to a better overall win total. That’s good news for the likes of Harbaugh and Lewis, who as noted need solid seasons to keep their names off the Black Monday watch list.
All these challenges would end a lesser franchise, but the Clippers have the advantage of having one of the best coaches in the NBA. Doc Rivers refuses to make excuses. His attitude permeates the locker room.
“We don’t change much about how we go about our business,” Rivers said. “We run the same sets, the same approach. Obviously, it’s a little different without Chris on the floor but we don’t do any major changes. Everything’s the same. We’re trying to pick off as many wins as we can and when everyone comes back, you hope that this makes you a better team.”
It also helps to have a veteran like Paul Pierce, who has won a title and been through the wars.
“I ain’t worried,” Pierce told Sporting News. “We are a championship-caliber team, I know it when I see it. We have everything we need to beat to anybody in the league and that includes Golden State. It sucks to have our stars hurting. But it gives other guys a chance to step up. That will only help us when the guys are back. Because now a bench guy will have confidence that he wouldn’t have otherwise had.”