8 in 4: AFC North

By Jon

Last year we somehow convinced ourselves that we should do NFL previews. It wasn’t the most accurate of experiments, but it was a nice concept at the time. We went through each division and predicted winners, then going back in January to examine how badly we did.

We weren’t really planning on much for this week, but it was brought up by someone that we should do it again. Well, why not? We are a little short on time, however, so we present to you eight divisions in four days.

If you have learned not to believe the hype, please don’t believe any of this, either.

4. Baltimore Ravens

Ray Lewis’ senior portrait

Big shock here- the defense should be good. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrel Suggs, Samari Rolle, and Chris McAlister form one of the best defensive cores around. Too bad the offense blows. Joe Flacco was playing I-AA, err… FCS Subdivision ball last year, and his receivers were probably better there.

3. Cincinnati Bengals

Innuendo much?

The Bengals have had buckets of talent for the last three or four years, and have nothing to show for it but a lengthy rap sheet. Carson will get his stats, but with a question mark in the backfield and an atrocious defense, don’t expect much from the Bengals (again.)

2. Cleveland Browns

“I bet you I can throw this steak over that mountain.”

The Browns are a bit of a mystery to me. In the course of a single season some no-name QB makes himself a lot of money, a past-his-prime, fresh out of the slammer running back resurrected his career, and the Browns became an offensive juggernaut. They’ve made some additions to the defense, but I don’t expect their offense to perform to the same level this year. A wild card contender, but I don’t see them taking the division.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

I saw someone wearing this shirt today. No joke.

The Steelers may hurt from the loss of Alan Faneca, but I don’t think it will be enough of a blow to knock them from the top of the division. The passing game was strong last year, and the chemistry between Big Ben and Santonio Holmes should continue to evolve. Rashard Mendenhall should be a good compliment to Willie Parker, and the defense remains largely intact from last season.