Sean Higgs' AFC North Preview
By: Sean Higgs Published on: 08/21/2012
Regular season is slowly approaching. Here are my thoughts on the AFC North ~ Higgs
1. BALTIMORE RAVENS - I believe that this can be a toss up between the Ravens and Steelers. I will lean to Baltimore here because I think Flacco stays healthier then Roethlisberger, and Ray Rice is a better than Mendenhall. Now the defense might take a step back. LB Ray Lewis is older, LB Terrell Suggs is probably out the year or most of it. Ed Reed is another guy getting up in age. I think HC Harbaugh will make the offense more ball-control and Ray Rice oriented to keep the older defense off the field longer and fresh.
2. PITTSBURGH STEELERS - I am a fan of HC Mike Tomlin. The guy can coach. This team is what it is. It runs the balls. Roethlisberger does enough to win. The defense makes plays. Lots of injuries last year here in Pittsburgh. The secondary is getting some gray hairs, and if Polamulu suffers another concussion or some injury, the Steelers could slip behind a surging Bengals team.
3. CINCINNATI BENGALS - Speaking of surging, here are the upstart Bengals. Let's be clear here. If QB Dalton and WR Green suffer through sophomore slumps, this can be a long season. The defense was solid again last year, and Cincy used 2 of its first 3 draft picks on defensive help.
4. CLEVELAND BROWNS - Well the Brandon Weeden era officially begins in Cleveland. He is joined by RB Trent Richardson who should be able to take a little pressure off the QB. Let's be honest year. The Browns are an improved unit for sure. But, this North Division is very tough with a pair of veteran teams with serious Super Bowl hopes. They will need to do what the Bengals did last year to make the playoffs. There will be some early growing pains for sure.