The AFC North is home to two of the strongest teams in the AFC in the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. Which one of them has the best chance to not only win this division and be a deep threat in the playoffs? Let’s find out.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC Divisional): The Steelers, in my opinion, have the smoothest offense in football. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown, and running back Le’Veon Bell can put up record numbers if they manage to stay healthy throughout the whole season. Bell will be suspended for the first four games of the season due to a missed drug test, but DeAngelo Williams can put up meaningful backup in his absence and fill the void. If Pittsburgh can plug up their defensive holes, they are one of the best teams in the whole NFL.
- Cincinnati Bengals (AFC Wild Card): The Bengals didn’t lose their Wild Card matchup against the Steelers last season because they weren’t a better football team. They lost the game because linebacker Vontaze Burfict and cornerback Pacman Jones lost their cool and gave Pittsburgh the field position to kick the game-winning field goal. Maybe they are the better team, but last season was a breakout one for quarterback Andy Dalton, and I’m not 100% confident that he can maintain that kind of performance for another 16 weeks. Expect the Bengals/Steelers division title to come down to their head-to-head matchups.
- Baltimore Ravens: There really is quite the disparity between the top two teams in this division and the Ravens. Baltimore isn’t a bad team, but they’re not that great either. With wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. nearing the end of his career, management needs to find some other offensive pieces to complement quarterback Joe Flacco.
- Cleveland Browns: Why do I even bother writing an excerpt on this team? I guess getting wide receiver Josh Gordon back (after the first four games) and finding a new quarterback in Robert Griffin III are small upgrades, but my goodness, the Browns are still a dumpster fire. Before the Gordon decision was announced, it was completely possible that they’d go 0-16. Now, I’ll be nice enough to spot them 1 or 2 games.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Matt Weingarten