It is now Day 6 of the Countdown to Kickoff and not only is it still presented to you by nobody, it has also not gotten canceled yet. There are only three division previews left and today we will be looking at a preview of the AFC North. The AFC North has one of the best teams in football, two mediocre teams, and a team that is going to be one of the worst in football. The Steelers won the division last season and were just a game away from going to the Super Bowl and they are definitely a team that could return this season. The division is intriguing because the two mediocre teams are only a couple of plays away from making the playoffs. The Browns are still in this division and they still are very bad.
Finishing fourth in the AFC North will be the Cleveland Browns
The Browns were the worst team in football last season and they will be among the worst teams right there this season. The Browns made some great choices with their high draft picks and are going with rookie quarterback Deshone Kizer. The Browns are trying to be bad this season to acquire more assets to build for the future, and they do not have much talent on the roster. The Browns are going to be in competition with the Jets more the first overall draft pick and I think they will be the worst team in football once again this season.
Predicted record for the Cleveland Browns- 2-14
Finishing third in the AFC North will be the Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are among the most mediocre teams in football for the past few seasons. They are never among the worst or best teams in football and are always a couple of wins away from making the playoffs. The Bengals finish right around .500 every season and even if they make the playoffs they are one and done. The Bengals go into the 2017 season as the same mediocre roster that can possibly make the playoffs if everything goes right for this season. Thus far this preseason, everything has not been going right for them as they lost linebacker Vontaze Burfict to a suspension. A suspension for Burfict has been a staple over the past few seasons and that trend continues this season. Quarterback Andy Dalton has the offensive weapons in A.J. Green and Jeremy Hill to make a run at the playoffs, but they will short this season. The Bengals should really consider cleaning house this season if they do not make the playoffs as they have always been mediocre under the long tenure of head coach Marvin Lewis.
Predicted record for the Bengals-5-11
Finishing second in the AFC North will be the Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are the only team in this division that has won a Super Bowl this decade, but they have not been the same since. They have only made the playoffs once since their championship, while making the playoffs almost every season before they won the big game. One of the reasons they have not been great since winning the big game is the contract of quarterback Joe Flacco. The Ravens had no choice other than pay Flacco a lot of money after he was the Super Bowl MVP, but he has not lived up to his contract. He is currently injured, but the Ravens expect him to be healthy for the regular season. The Ravens have the grittiest backfield in the NFL with running back Danny Woodhead alongside Flacco and that backfield will make sure that the Ravens are not terrible this season. There are a lot of mediocre teams in the NFL and the Ravens are one of them. I have the Ravens finishing one game out of the playoffs, but they can certainly get there if one of their losses goes their way instead. The Ravens have proven in the past that if they make the playoffs, they are going to win at least one game in the postseason.
Predicted record for the Ravens- 9-7
Winning the AFC North will be the Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have the most talent on their roster in the division and that is a major reason why they are going to run away with the division. The Steelers have three future hall of fame type players in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’veon Bell, and wide receiver Antonio Brown on offense that can make them one of the best teams in football. The Steelers have a defense that is great in limiting the scoring of the other team and allowing their own offense and winning the game. The Steelers are a team that is going to be among the handful of teams who truly believe that they can make a Super Bowl run this season.
Predicted record for the Steelers- 13-3
That was a preview of the AFC North and with that there are only two more divisions left to preview and they are coming in the next two days. Tomorrow we will be looking at a preview of the NFC East before finishing out the week with the AFC East.