The AFC North looks to be a dogfight when the season kicks off, as the Bengals, who reloaded with some name yet questionable players, look to repeat as champs. The Ravens and Steelers are two teams that feel they can challenge for the division as well, and the Browns feel they are improved. It should be a fun division to watch.
Baltimore (12-4) – The Ravens have a big name target at wide out with Anquan Boldin, and he’s a guy that will take the pass game to another level. Joe Flacco is going to have his best season throwing, and Ray Rice is one of the best five running backs in the game. The defense is aging, and the secondary is beat up, but they will overcome that and be a team that will challenge in the AFC for the shot to make it to Dallas for the Super Bowl.
Cincinnati (10-6) – I like what the Bengals did this offseason, despite having some names in there like Jones (Adam and Matt) and Owens (Terrell of course) that could either be a blessing or a curse. There’s a lot of pressure on QB Carson Palmer, and RB Cedric Benson needs to step up as well. The defense should be good, and it is going to be up to Marvin Lewis to keep this team grounded with the egos running around. They won’t sweep the division this year, but are an AFC Wild Card team for sure.
Pittsburgh (9-7) – For the first time in awhile, no one seems to be talking about the Steelers, and while they like that, they are clearly a team with issues. They will be without their QB for the first four weeks at least, and their O-line will need to step up and the defense needs to do the same. The Steelers have always been a prideful team, and while they will fight and have a winning record, it will be tough to see this team making the postseason with the two teams ahead of them.
Cleveland (5-11) – This team has high hopes after starting 1-11 last year and going 4-0 to end the season. While that has the fans and team hoping high, the club is still void of playmakers, and is counting on veteran Jake Delhomme, who has struggled the past two seasons to step up. The defense is young, and the offense looks better, but they are still not close to the other three teams in the division, and after two easy games to start the year (TB and KC), the schedule is brutal.