We start the first AFC division in the north. Home to 2010 AFC champion the Pittsburgh Steelers. This maybe the NFL’s smash mouth division. Every teams pounds the ball and has key defensive players on each team. Here are my AFC North predictions worst to first.
2010: 4-12 2011: 2-14
I see no reason why the Bengals will have a successful season. This may be the worst team in the NFL. Sorry Cincy fans but your team sucks. There is hype around Sophomore DE Carlos Dunlap to be beastly this season and the addition of A.J. Green and Andy Dalton in the 2011 draft is promising for the future but not now. The loses of Carson Palmer (retirement), Ochocinco (Patriots) and Terrell Owens ( free agent) will be to much to overcome. Marvin Lewis’ exit it’s far behind.
2010: 5-11 2011:8-8
Since Lebron’s decision, Cleveland fans have been looking for something to cheer for. Although this won’t be that season, the Browns are moving in the right direction. With a rookie head coach in Pat Shurmur and Colt McCoy’s first full season under pocket I see good things for the Browns but the Ravens & Steelers hurdles will be to huge to jump this year. Also expect a decline from Peyton Hillis. Opponents will stack eight in the box and force McCoy to pass. Plus the Madden curse is still alive. Pay close attention to the combo of McCoy and rookie wideout Greg Little. This will be a deadly combo in years to come.
2010: 12-4 2011: 10-6
I’m very much aware of the phrase ” if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but I’m uncertain how that helped the Steelers this year. The Steelers made no huge off-season moves and kept funds in house signing 5 key starters to new deals but signed no key free agents. The steelers are solid on both sides of the ball but could use upgrades at the running back and defensive back positions. I also see room for improvement at Wide out. Maybe a T.O. Signing in the near future? The 2010 AFC champs will make the playoffs but will be a first round knock out. Sorry Wiz, no black & yellow this year.
Baltimore Ravens: 2011 Division Champs
2010: 12-4 2011-11-5
I always count the ravens out and they always surprise me so I’m picking them to win this division. With a rock solid defense lead by Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs all the pressure is on the Ravens offense. Ray Rice and Joe Flacco have lost teammates Todd Heap( Cardinals) & Derrick Mason (Jets) but deep threat Lee Evans has joined the club. A early week 9 meeting vs. Pittsburgh may decide this division but I see the Ravens marching to the AFC championship game and losing to a team to be announced toward the end of the NFL preview.
2011 playoff team: Ravens and Steelers…….Next Up…….The NFC West
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