The AFC North is like a game of Sims gone wrong. For years, these teams have been doing everything they can to keep everyone happy when it just isn’t feasible long term. Now, the whole conference is one large dumpster fire. But one team is going to rise from the ashes and their takeover begins this season.
Let’s start in the Steel City of Pittsburgh. Jet fuel may not be able to melt steel beams, but petty drama sure can. The Steelers are falling apart. There is virtually no scenario where Le’Veon Bell plays for Pittsburgh ever again. They do get the consolation prize of James Conner, but he is no Le’Veon. They will also lose Antonio Brown. Arguably the best receiver in the NFL has already said goodbye to Pittsburgh despite the fact he is still on the roster. Star players are begging to get out of that city. Big Ben, who is a coward and should unblock me on Twitter, is one big hit away from being forced into retirement. Not a bright future.
The Ravens may have finished last season with 10 wins, but if that playoff game versus the Chargers was indicator of anything, I would start to worry. The Ravens have put all of their eggs in one basket with Lamar Jackson. He has proven time and time again that he cannot throw to save his life while the one person that could somewhat pass just got traded to the Broncos. One top of the future quarterback problem, John Harbaugh has had a tough time beating their rivals as of late. Must run in the family.
If you remember the old phrase “Browns gonna Browns”, you should learn the new one: “Bengals gonna Bengals”. They may have finally stopped rewarding Marvin Lewis for his mediocrity, but don’t think for a second that the Bengals are all of a sudden going to be anything better than 5-11. As long as the Ginga Ninja is tossing around the pigskin and Vontaze Burfict is doing everything he can to keep the other team’s offense on the field, don’t get your hopes up.
I never thought I would say this, but the Browns are the saving grace of this conference and will win the division next season. Despite what Colin Cowherd tells you, Baker Mayfield is legit. He won’t win the MVP next season, but expect to hear his name in contention. The Browns have also made some huge moves in the past year and so far this offseason. Cleveland picked up Kareem Hunt (I am not going to make Browns’ Kicker jokes). A Hunt and Chubb backfield is going to be insane. It also sounds like a really bad buddy cop duo. Expect last year’s 7 wins to jump to 10, but do not expect anyone to stop asking if Alabama can beat them.