Sean's AFC North Preview
NFL kicks off Thursday, so let's check in on the defending Super Bowl Champions.
1. CINCINNATI BENGALS - LY these guys went 10-6 finishing 2nd. I think they win 11 and upend Baltimore to win the division. Plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. I think Daulton, Gresham and Green are a great QB-TE-WR combo. Add in a solid RBs and this team can score with anyone. The defense is another solid core. These guys set a club record with 51 sacks last year. I think the pressure is on HC Marvin Lewis though. This is his 11th year. He is 0-4 in the playoffs. Time to make a move.
2. BALTIMORE RAVENS - I'm not ready to count the Ravens out entirely. Yes Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are gone. Those are a pair of HOFers. I think this conference is weak enough for them to get a wild-card birth. After week 14, Flacco tossed 15TDs with just 1 INT. If he can get his WRs to step up, Flacco along with RB Rice can keep BLT in games. The defense got a major overhaul. New veterans come to town led by Elvis Dumervil. He will be looking to make a statement on Thursday night for sure. I think Baltimore will be better than what most expect.
3. PITTSBURGH STEELERS - Like NE, I think this proud organization is in for a rude awaking. I don't care if Roethlisberger is 100% healthy and feeling like he is 25. This offense doesn't look that great to me. I think they are going to have major problems. The defense somehow again finished ranked #1 in the league. The defense should be again a top unit under DC Dick LeBeau. Will be interesting to see how Mike Tomlin handles this bunch. I think they get to 8-8, maybe 9-7.
4. CLEVELAND BROWNS - Stop me when you heard this before. The Browns are rebuilding. A new regime takes over and tabs Rob Chudzinski as HC. He is the 6th HC in the last 10 years. Norv Turner takes over the play calling on offense. I always thought he was a better OC than HC. Maybe he gets QB Weeden to make some plays in his uptempo offense. Ray Horton has a pretty decent defense under his guide. They didn't get any flashy signings, but I think the team is heading in the right direction