The AFC North, a division that has been around for a while. There are bitter rivalries, and broken hearts. This division has a couple of good teams, and then the Browns. However grim, or happy the circumstances may be for these teams, every single one of them could be the next champion of the AFC North.
The Ravens may not be the most captivating in this division, but that does not mean that they are bad. They have many things going for them. The Ravens have a great coach, a great receiver group, and a quarterback who has a super bowl ring (even though Joe Flacco gets hate). Their defense is playing well, so this team has a lot going for them.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO WIN: The Ravens have Maclin, Wallace, and Perriman at receiver, and have added to their defense this year. The Ravens need Flacco to be a little more consistent this year, especially with this talented core. They also need one of their running backs to step up, and give a consistent rushing attack to shed defenders off the back of the field.
The Bengals dipped off a little last year. Okay, they dipped a lot, but they still have a talented team. The main obstacle for the Bengals is their offensive line. They lost Whitworth this offseason, and their guard. The test is to see if Andy Dalton can stay upright for long. The Bengals defense still has a lot of talent, and they added John Ross, and Joe Mixon to the offense.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO WIN: The Bengals have usually been a big competitor for the division, and this year could be the same. All they have to do is give Dalton enough time to throw to either Green, Eifert, Ross, or Boyd (a great receiving core). They also need Hill, and Mixon to give enough of a running game to balance their offense. Also, their defense needs to slow down the other offenses, so that they can get ahead quickly in games.
Now you may be saying, “Aha, the Browns do not have a chance!” However, they do have a slim chance. If the other teams in the North have a underwhelming season, the Browns have a chance. They had three first round draft picks, drafting two talented defenders and a tight end. They could have a decent defense this year, and their offense is only getting better.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO WIN: The Browns need at least decent quarterback play by Kessler, Osweiler, or Kizer. If one of them can at least play at a Brian Hoyer level (I know, sad isn’t it?). If Coleman can step into a top receiver, and if their rookie tight end is worth the pick, they can start spreading defenses a little. Also, Crowell needs to continue to performing well. Lastly, Myles Garrett needs to be the next J.J. or Khail, so that Big Ben, and other quarterbacks won’t have time to throw deep on the Browns.
The Steelers are considered the front-runner in this division. The Steelers have the three killer B’s. Which are Ben, Brown, and Bell. Their defense has been improving, and their offense is always one of the best. However, they still need to perform this season.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO WIN: The Steelers biggest weakness in the past couple of years has been defense (which has improved), and injuries (which still is a problem). All three of the killer B’s need to be on the field. If all of them are on the field at the same time, they can keep up with almost any team. Their defense also needs to be half-way decent, and cannot relax on teams in games.
Well, there is the various reasons, fellow Sports Reactionists, and remember, be the best sports fan you can possibly be. Do not forget my first article in the “How Every NFL Team can win their division” series.
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