While some divisions in the NFL are already settled and playoff spots clinched, the AFC North is going to go down to the wire to determine which teams are in and which ones will be crying in their after-game water bottles.
My friend Dayna likes to talk about the NFC West being the best division in football. I disagree! The AFC North is – finally – looking like a real powerhouse of competition and could very easily produce this year’s Super Bowl champion!
With their win over the Indianapolis Colts last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers have locked on to the division title and a playoff berth. And at a depressing 4-10, the Cincinnati Bengals are out of the running.
However, the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens promise to make things interesting as they both fight for a wild card spot.
While it’s snowing in the midwest, the battle for the AFC North is heating up!
The Week 12 Sunday Night Football Game turned into the Tuesday Night game which then became the Wednesday Late Afternoon game for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. Thanks, Covid…
The Steelers top the division standings at 11-0, followed by the Cleveland Browns (yes, the Browns!) at 8-3. The Ravens, 6-5, may be the biggest disappointment so far this year while the Cincinnati Bengals at 2-8-1 still aren’t as far away as their record indicates.
Let’s take a look at what happened this week and who they have coming up on the schedule.
Week 2 of the NFL season started with an offensive showdown in the AFC North last Thursday night, in an inner-state match-up between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals. Yes, I said an offensive showdown!
In fact, the entire division looked good from an offensive perspective, putting up a combined 124 points. Now, they did allow 102 points so it looks like defense is going to be an issue for most of these teams…. but let’s take a closer look at what happened.
The 2020 NFL offseason has been anything but typical. Training camps are underway with no fans in attendance and our glimpses of the teams have been sketchy at best.
But in looking around the AFC North, at the additions from the draft, the free agency moves and the returns from injury, it seems as if it’s just another normal off-season.
I have to say the team to beat is the Baltimore Ravens – regardless of what Steeler Fan wants to believe. And while Pittsburgh and the Cleveland Browns battle to be second fiddle, I think we all know the Cincinnati Bengals need a lot more help than #1 draft pick Joe Burrow as quarterback.
Let take a look at what each team has been up to so far this year.
Between the hard-fought ground battle in Baltimore between the Ravens (2-2) and the Cleveland Browns (2-2), to the Monday Night Football showcase of two winless teams, Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3) vs Cincinnati Bengals (0-4), the AFC North is a division undergoing a huge transformation.
How did this week’s games impact the division standings – and what do the upcoming weeks have in store for these hard grinding teams?
Let’s take a look at the first quarter of the 2019 season for this division…
The Baltimore Ravens sit alone atop the AFC North after one week due to surprising losses by the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Cincinnati Bengals loss to the Seattle Seahawks was only surprising in that the game was so very much closer than anyone predicted.
The Ravens looked amazing, but is that because the Miami Dolphins are worse than advertised? And after all the pre-season hype, are the Browns really this bad?
No one was surprised to see the New England Patriots man-handle the Steelers, yet the complete beat-down was unexpected. And quarterback Andy Dalton put up better numbers than Russell Wilson!!!! How did that happen?
Let’s face it – the AFC North was a hot mess last year! With Le’Veon Bell sitting out, the once-dominant Pittsburgh Steelers had to root for the Cleveland Browns in Week 17 in order to make the playoffs.
The Baltimore Ravens benched quarterback Joe Flacco and began the new era of Lamar Jackson football. Can Jackson keep being the leading rusher for this team and avoid injury?
The Cincinnati Bengals landed at the bottom of a division where the Browns had held that spot for too many years to count. But the once 0-16 Browns, under the leadership of rookie QB Baker Mayfield, are making their case to take over the division.
Let’s take a team-by-team look at the moves they’ve made so far to get ready for the battle to be “Kings of the North.”