The next division up on our list is the AFC North. The Pittsburgh Steelers are the returning champions of the division and the only playoff team from the division in 2007. The division also features the Cleveland Browns, a team that just missed out on the second wildcard spot, the Baltimore Ravens, the only team to lose to the Miami Dolphins, and the dysfunctional Cincinnati Bengals.
The Steelers are still a very strong team, despite the fact they lost the heart of their offensive line in Alan Faneca. The only thing that can stop them from at least making the playoffs is injuries, that is unless Ben Roethlisberger continues to hold the ball in the pocket for 10 seconds at a time. The offensive line should be strong, even without Faneca, and should open up lots of wholes for Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall. The defense should be as good as ever, en route to a division title.
The Browns should definitely contend for the division, but expect them to be in contention for a wild card spot. Derek Anderson should continue to play at this high of a level, and if that stays true, there is no reason why the Browns shouldn’t be poised to take some sort of playoff spot. The defense is somewhat weak, but should be able to hold up.
Don’t expect the Ravens or the Bengals to be lighting it up this year. Chad Johnson is a huge distraction for the Bengals, plus their defense is awful. The Ravens go forward with their quarterback of the future, Joe Flacco, but they will not contend this year. The Steelers and the Browns will fight for the division title, but expect the Steelers to win the battle.
AFC South tomorrow.