2016 NFL Preview: AFC North

NFL-LogoThis time of the year is a special time for your boy here.  Why is that, you ask?

It’s FOOTBALL SEASON!!!

As I have done the past few years, I will have a daily division-by-division preview followed by a recap and who I think will win it all.  And as always, I will start with the division of my beloved Steelers, the AFC North: pound-for-pound the best division in football.

Let’s go…

(in order of predicted finish)

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)

Before training camp I thought that this will be the year my beloved squad will take a big step among the NFL’s elite.  After all, with Big Ben Roethlisberger slinging the rock to Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, along with Le’Veon Bell and D’Angelo Williams toting the rock, our offense will be a nightmare for defenses to stop.

The problem is Bryant and Bell are suspended to start the season.  All because both those dudes can’t stay off the weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-D (sorry, Stephen A. Smith).  And while I know Bell is suspended for missing weed tests, y’all know there is a reason why that brotha skipped those tests – it ain’t for eating too much cake.  I won’t comment on that fool Bryant.

Meanwhile, our defense, while better in the front seven, is still suspect as hell in the secondary.  Hell, even I could pass for 300 yards against that secondary.  Thankfully the opposing offenses in this division (outside of Cincinnati), won’t give the defense many fits this season.

Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)

Living in Cincinnati the last couple of years has taught me one thing: Bengals fans are perhaps the most long-suffering bunch in football.  And that’s too bad because this is a good team.

Yes, I know the Bengals are not the most disciplined bunch (see last season’s playoff loss to Pittsburgh).  And yes, I know coach Marvin Lewis has yet to lead the Bengals to a playoff win.

But as I said before, this is a good team.  Andy Dalton is an underrated QB who has proven that he could get the job done.  They have a good pair of running backs in Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard.  They have an elite tight end in Tyler Eifert.  Oh, and there is this wide receiver named A.J. Green.

Defensively, this is among the most physical bunch in the league.  Their front seven is stout, and their secondary is not bad at all.  As long as Vontaze Burfict stops trying to hurt cats, I think they will be fine.

Baltimore Ravens (8-8)

As a person who loathes Baltimore (I laugh at squads and fan bases who try to be like us), I do respect the hell out of that organization.  Any team with a general manager like Ozzie Newsome who keeps finding gems in the draft is a team in good hands.

Last year’s injury-ravaged season took a HUGE toll on those guys, but I think they will be better.  Any team coached by John Harbaugh will at least bounce back.

I don’t think the likes of Joe Flacco, Steve Smith, and Terrell Suggs will be able to FULLY bounce back from injuries suffered last season.

Cleveland Browns (5-11)

Hey Browns fans, I’ve got some good news and bad news.

Good news: Hue Jackson is your coach.  He has shown he could work wonders with QBs and teams (see his work with Dalton and the Bengals offense the last two seasons, and his one season as head coach of the Raiders).

Bad news: 1) Porcelain-ass Robert Griffin III is your QB; 2) your team is STILL the Cleveland Browns.

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