This article gets our divisional almanac series started. Right now, I want to be sure to get the AFC done, but we may move on to the NFC at some point. The reasoning behind this series has multiple pieces. First, even if a CBA is figured out this week, free agency isn’t expected to start for another week. This series will be a nice stop-gap to free agency. Finally, I’m going on vacation, and I can write and schedule these ahead of time. With that nice little intro, let’s tackle the AFC North.
Pittsburgh Steelers – (13-3)
The Steelers are coming off of a Super Bowl run, and their team has some holes to fill. Their linemen are aging, but their is good news. Their offensive line couldn’t get much worse than it was before hand, and the idea of them building a dominant line is rather terrifying. I expect them to win their division again.
Baltimore Ravens – (11-5)
I think the Ravens are on the rise, but they have to play the Steelers twice a year. They’ll probably make the playoffs via a wild card birth. Joe Flacco will have to be able to pick up some slack, because; that defense is aging, and he’ll have to make more plays than last season.
Cleveland Browns – (6-10)
They’re getting better. There’s no doubt about it, but they’re in one of football’s toughest division. They’ll lose 4 games between the Steelers and the Ravens, but I really think they’ll sweep their in-state rivals. I don’t know if Colt McCoy is the answer, but he’ll be called upon to win games this year. If he can’t do that, they could easily slide back to a 4 win season.
Cincinnati Bengals – (2-14)
This team is junk. They’re throwing away trade value by forcing Palmer to retire instead of trading him. They don’t have anything resembling a defense, they don’t have a consistent running game, and they’re likely to start Andy Dalton. That’s a recipe for a bad season, as if that’s not the status quo.
Who will win the AFC North in 2011?
*All records are projected.