Menu

Warning: Illegal string offset 'hide_author_box' in /home/customer/www/sports-kings.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/videotouch/includes/fields.class.php on line 133

Warning: Cannot assign an empty string to a string offset in /home/customer/www/sports-kings.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/videotouch/includes/fields.class.php on line 133

Warning: Illegal string offset 'hide_author_box' in /home/customer/www/sports-kings.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/videotouch/includes/fields.class.php on line 137
Home / NFL / 2011 NFL Preview: AFC North:

Warning: Illegal string offset 'title_position' in /home/customer/www/sports-kings.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/videotouch/includes/fields.class.php on line 150

Warning: Cannot assign an empty string to a string offset in /home/customer/www/sports-kings.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/videotouch/includes/fields.class.php on line 150

Warning: Illegal string offset 'title_position' in /home/customer/www/sports-kings.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/videotouch/includes/fields.class.php on line 154

Warning: Illegal string offset 'title_position' in /home/customer/www/sports-kings.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/videotouch/includes/fields.class.php on line 150

Warning: Cannot assign an empty string to a string offset in /home/customer/www/sports-kings.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/videotouch/includes/fields.class.php on line 150

Warning: Illegal string offset 'title_position' in /home/customer/www/sports-kings.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/videotouch/includes/fields.class.php on line 154

Outlook and predictions for the AFC North in 2011:

Written By: Andy Flint:

 

Pittsburgh Steelers: 12-4: (Last Season 12-4)

 The Pittsburgh Steelers and their lynch-mob defensive approach, is always sure to cause massive chaos to opposing offensive schemes. These guys are brutal. They leave it all out on the field. They’re intense, passionate, and down right scary. Led by the “Flying Hawaiian”, Troy Polamalu, and the hard-hitting, James Harrison, the Steelers are the real deal on defense. Their offense is also a very productive unit. Led by their large-armed quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, the crafty Hines Ward, and a plethora of other useful weapons, these guys continue to be the team to beat in the AFC. The Steelers really didn’t make a splash in free agency.

They did, however, re-sign coveted CB, Ike Taylor. I firmly believe the reason that the Steelers didn’t really get after the free agency market, is because they already have such a strong team. These guys have a lot of good, young prospects to develop, and there was really no reason to jump into the market and sign guys who will take away from their younger unit getting reps. Pittsburgh’s biggest hurdle this season will be, as always, the Baltimore Ravens. These teams are heated rivals, and it should only continue to get more heated as the years pass. The Steelers have a formidable schedule of teams to play this season as well. The will travel to Kansas City, Baltimore, Indianapolis, and Houston. They’ll also see the Patriots at Heinz Field once this season. Should make for some good Steelers football!

Baltimore Ravens: 11-5: (Last Season 12-4)

 The Baltimore Ravens are an interesting team. I think they’ll compete with Pittsburgh all the way until the very end of the season, and I think they’ll be just as menacing on defense as the Steelers are. The selling point, for me, of whether or not the Ravens can take the next step of being on top of their division, or just recipients of another Wild-Card nod, is their offense. They need Joe Flacco to break-out as a great NFL QB. I don’t expect Flacco to enter the upper echelon QB rank at this point and time. But, for the Baltimore Ravens to have great enough success to dethrone the Pittsburgh Steelers, they’ll need Joe Flacco to at least crack the next tier of QB play. I’d rank Flacco right around #11 in terms of NFL quarterbacks, at this current time.

If he can find himself dropped somewhere between 5-8, I believe the Ravens will have a quality shot at shocking the Pittsburgh Steelers, and imposing their will on the AFC North. Another player that I’m calling out is Ray Rice. Ray Rice needs to prove that he’s a top 5 NFL running back. I fully expect to see Ray Rice strap on his “big boy pads” and start pounding the rock  a little harder. I think this is a make-or-break season for him. He needs 1,200+ yards and 10 touchdowns, or I’m done caring. Anquan Boldin is another guy that I’m quickly starting to forget about. I’ll expect him to break 1,000 yards this season, and give Joe Flacco the much-needed support they’re paying him for. The Baltimore Ravens have become far too content with letting their defense win them games. I’m sick of it. That defensive unit isn’t getting any younger, and the Ravens staff is looking down the barrel of a loaded gun if they can’t light a fire under their offense soon.

Cleveland Browns: 5-11: (Last Season 5-11)

 While I firmly believe that the Browns are getting to a point of not completely sucking anymore, I still feel that they won’t find the footing they need this season. The Bengals are helping them a lot, by quickly developing into a complete circus. I just feel that 5 wins sounds about right for the Browns this season. They still have to play two of the best teams in the entire NFL (Steelers, Ravens) twice apiece, and for all intents and purposes, they’re a fairly young team where it counts. They’ll be led by the beast, Peyton Hillis, and the young arm of Colt McCoy.

I think letting Jake Delhomme go and essentially demanding Colt McCoy be the immediate future of this organization was the first step in the right direction for this club. But I still see many chinks in their offensive armor, so to speak. Their offense was 31st in points per game, 29th in total yards, 29th in passing yards and 20th in rushing yards, last season. They’ll need to step it up on the offensive end, if they hope to steal some games from their defensive-minded division.

Cincinnati Bengals: 2-14: (Last Season 4-12)

 As of right now, I can’t think of a team in more trouble than the Cincinnati Bengals. They’re in the midst of dealing with a diva quarterback, in Carson Palmer, and the trade of their most pivotal player, in Chad Ochocinco. They’ve also lost their most worthwhile defender, in Jonathan Joseph, to the Houston Texans, and reasons to panic keep on piling up. The one bright spot in an otherwise cloudy off-season for the Bengals, was their re-signing of Cedric Benson. They also managed to re-sign Gibril Wilson, who is coming off from ACL surgery. Wilson has a chance to bounce-back from his injury and lead this otherwise, unimpressive defense.

I can’t see the Bengals managing many wins this season. They’re deadlocked into playing the Steelers and Ravens twice apiece. Other than that, I don’t find their schedule to be impossibly hard, but I just can’t see them winning much, despite seeing the Browns twice, the Bills, the 49ers and the Titans. I almost feel as if those games become soft spots on the opposing teams’ schedules. Tough times in Cincy!

 


Warning: Illegal string offset 'hide_social_sharing' in /home/customer/www/sports-kings.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/videotouch/includes/fields.class.php on line 133

Warning: Cannot assign an empty string to a string offset in /home/customer/www/sports-kings.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/videotouch/includes/fields.class.php on line 133

Warning: Illegal string offset 'hide_social_sharing' in /home/customer/www/sports-kings.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/videotouch/includes/fields.class.php on line 137
Share

Warning: Illegal string offset 'hide_related' in /home/customer/www/sports-kings.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/videotouch/includes/fields.class.php on line 133

Warning: Cannot assign an empty string to a string offset in /home/customer/www/sports-kings.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/videotouch/includes/fields.class.php on line 133

Warning: Illegal string offset 'hide_related' in /home/customer/www/sports-kings.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/videotouch/includes/fields.class.php on line 137

Recent comments