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1. Cincinnati Bengals- The Cincinnati Bengals have one of the top 3 quarterbacks in the league in Carson Palmer. They also have one of the top receivers in Chad Johnson, and a great possession guy in TJ Houshmanzadeh. Even with Chris Henry out, the Bengals have the top passing game in the AFC North.
2. Cleveland Browns- This may shock some people, but the Browns have the 2nd best passing game in the AFC North. Charlie Frye is disappointing, but he has all the weapons to be successful. Braylon Edwards, Joe Jurevicious, and Kellen Winslow are a great group for Charlie to throw to. Brady Quinn is also waiting in the wings to be his successor.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers- The Steelers are looking to rebound from a disappointing season last year. They have a decent passing game. Ben Roethlisberger is a good quarterback, but he lacks weapons. Hines Ward is consistent, but the rest of the receiving corps has to pick up some of the slack. If Santonio Holmes develops into a more legitimate deep threat, this team’s passing game will be a force. If not, then it will be there downfall.
4. Baltimore Ravens- If the Ravens have a weakness, it’s in there passing attack. Steve McNair is the perfect type of quarterback for the Ravens. He won’t make many mistakes, but he won’t light up any score boards either. He doesn’t have any top receivers either; his best target is TE Todd Heap. The Ravens are a run first team, and their passing game reflects that/
1. Baltimore Ravens- The Ravens picked up stud running back Willis McGahee from the bills, and revamped their offensive line with the draft. Barring a major injury, there is no way this team does not have the best running game in the AFC North, they may have one of the best in all of football.
2. Cincinnati Bengals- The depth of Cincinnati’s running attack sets them apart from the lower half of the division. Rudi Johnson is a workhorse, but they also have change of pace backs like Chris Perry, Kenny Watson, and rookie Kenny Irons.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers- Willie Parker had a great season last year, and is a stud NFL running back. But there is no depth behind him. Najeh Davenport isn’t explosive enough to be the Jerome Bettis-type pile mover that they missed last season. They are playing behind a solid but aging offensive line. But if Parker is injured, this team is in deep trouble.
4. Cleveland Browns- Reuben Droughns wasn’t very successful last year, so they brought in Jamaal Lewis. Trouble is, Jamaal wasn’t successful last year either. I doubt he will rebound from his recent struggles with the Browns behind a offensive line that is in shambles.
1. Cincinnati Bengals- The Bengals have one of the top offenses in the NFL.
2. Baltimore Ravens- Baltimore may lack in the passing department, but their revamped rushing attack should pick up on the slack.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers- The Steelers aren’t hurting in too many areas, but nobody on offense really scares you other than Willie Parker.
4. Cleveland Browns- The Browns have one of the worst rushing attacks and offensive lines in the country.
1. Baltimore Ravens- The Ravens have arguably one of the best front sevens is the country. Ray Lewis is aging but is still a top NFL MLB. Terrell Suggs is a young stud OLB. Bart Scott, Haloti Ngata, and Trevor Pryce also are above average. The loss of Adaluis Thomas undoubtedly huirst, but the Ravens still have enough talent to make up for it.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers- Pittsburgh’s being ranked this high has less to do with their own goodness and more to do with the division’s weakness. Their 34 defense was great, but it lost its star pass rusher in Joey Porter. Farrior and Larry Foote are still solid, but the Steelers front seven isn’t looking as scary as it usually has this time of year.
3. Cincinnati Bengals- The Bengals front seven improved last season, and things are slowly looking up. LB Ahmad Brooks looks to be solid, Domata Peko is only getting better, and they have one of the best pairs of DE’s in the country with Justin Smith and Robert Geathers. Their lack of stud linebakers hurts though.
4. Cleveland Browns- Kameiron Wimbley, Andra Davis, and Willie McGinest should be solid, but no one else on the front seven really will scare anybody. Cleveland did little to improve its pass rush in the draft, and it will still be one of the team’s Achilles Heels.
1. Baltimore Ravens- McAlister, Rolle, Reed, and Landry might just be the best secondary in the nation. Reed is a playmaking ballhawk, and Mcalister is a top 3 CB in the country. The other two guys aren’t two shabby either, and they have another rising star in the secondary in fifth round steal Dawan Landry.
2. Cincinnati Bengals- Jonathon Joseph can stick on receivers like glue, even if he plays patty cake with balls in the air. Deltha Oneal is solid, but Leon Hall should have the starting job by the end of the season. Madieu Williams is one of the most underated players in the game. Dexter Jackson is a question mark, and I excpect Marvin White to take over his job by mid season
3. Pittsburgh Steelers- Ike Taylor was disappointing, but if returns to his 2005 form, this teams secondary will be a force. I don’t see that happening though. The only thing that prevents this team from being last is Troy Polamalu, who, when healthy is a top 5 safety in this league.
4. Cleveland Browns- The Browns have one of the games best kept secrets in safety Sean Jones, who racked up over 100 tackles. But the oft injured Leigh Bodden leaves this team hanging up to dry. He is like Mark Prior, he has the potential to be great but he can’t seem to stay healthy. This team could have a great secondary, and Eric Wright is promising, but tooo many things have to happen for them to be solid.
1. Baltimore Ravens- Organized Chaos is easily they best defense in the division.
2. Cincinnati Bengals- The Bengals have promising stars at every position, but the question remains if they can play up to their potential.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers- The Steeler’s defense pales in comparison to the Super Bowl team’s of 2005.
4. Cleveland Browns- No way this team’s defensive questions all get positive answers.
1690: I agree with most of your list, although I think the Bengals should be first in rushing, Steelers second and Ravens third. The Bengals get it due to depth over the Steelers who have at this moment who appears to be the best RB in the division.
Also given how much our defense is relying on potential and 'maybes' the Steelers are an easy second in defense.
Baltimore has the best defense in the league. Cincy probably has one of the 2 or 3 best offenses in the league.
Cleveland finally has a decent offensive line with depth and everything, but their running game will only be average with a young rookie starting at QB in all likelyhood.
Pittsburgh has talent on both sides of the ball, but not as much as they did last year. I expect the pass rush to be bad in Pittsburgh but the run defense to be outstanding, while the offense should be better than last year with Parker going to the pro bowl again while Santonio Holmes breaks out and helps Roethlisberger rebound.
The teams will do well outside of their conference, especially playing the NFL's JV team... I mean the NFC west. But inside the conference the teams will beat each other up.
McNair misses 4 - 6 weeks with injury (thus the Ravens struggles).
Bengals again have great offense, but their lack of defense hurts them again.
Brady Quinn is the starter after the browns are out of playoff contention, and playing with nothing to lose the Brown's actually start to look decent enough for Romeo to keep his job for one more year.
Ben doesn't get into a motorcycle accident, however, A guy who pretended to be Ben, Did and gave the city of Pittsburgh another heart attack.
some would say the ravens are better off with kyle boller
haha Bollermania is alive and well, I can actually see that arguement (at least I don't feel they lose much with Boller out there).
Whoever said the Bengals run D is horrible... It isn't. We were top half of the league in run D last year, our biggest problem was that Tory James was out there 'covering' WR's and it seemed like we had new guys starting at LB every week.
I have a VERY hard time believing the Ravens top the Bengals in the division. This is not saying the Ravens are not the same talent as the Bengals, that's not the case. It's just that our two additional games are @TEN and KC while theirs are @SD and IND, that's a big difference there and the Bengals really couldn't have had much more go against them this year than they did last year while the Ravens had most everything go their way, especially in terms of health.
Either way I expect Cincinnati and Baltimore in the playoffs, I'm not sure what to expect out of Pittsburgh though.
It'll never happen, but it would be AMAZING if Odell Thurman was allowed to contribute next year. I'm hoping about midseason he earns his spot back or moves to WLB since Ahmad is in the middle.
I'll do a big writeup when I have time, but the Ravens are the class of the division. Arguably the best defense and special teams in the NFL is backed up by a solid veteran QB in Steve McNair, an elite TE Todd Heap, a pro bowler in the making Mark Clayton as well as a former pro bowler Derrick Mason and rising star Demetrius Williams, and their line has potential for greatness and at the very least solid.