AFC North: Which Teams Will Reach 10 Wins in 2012?
When you look at the AFC North, it's usually not much different year to year.
We have the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team that always vies for the division title—and more. Despite changing offensive coordinators, this is a team that should see no fall-off offensively in the coming season.
Ben Roethlisberger continues to lead this offense effectively, and while Rashard Mendenhall may lose the lead back position, Isaac Redman can step in without the team missing a beat. The fact that they actually improved the offensive line this offseason in the draft makes this an offense that actually improved and will be more dangerous.
We know the defense will be outstanding—now the offense could be its equal. It wouldn't be a shock to see them at 10 wins or more.
The same can be said for the Baltimore Ravens. With an elite talent like Ray Rice at running back, this is an offense that can blow up at any time. Joe Flacco may not be as good as he thinks he is, but he is able to effectively move the chains and get the team into scoring position.
The defense took a hit when Terrell Suggs was lost for the year, but rookie Courtney Upshaw can step right in and will keep things from falling apart.
Like Pittsburgh, 10 wins shouldn't be hard for the Ravens.
The Cincinnati Bengals are a bit of a mystery, however. In his rookie year, Andy Dalton started off hot but slowed way down as the year progressed. It's hard to feel confident in him, even though he has A.J. Green as his primary wide receiver. Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones will try to fill in for the departed Jerome Simpson, who had a tremendous 2011 and bolted for the Minnesota Vikings.
However, there really wasn't that much of an upgrade at running back from Cedric Benson to BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and there are a lot of question marks in the running game.
This, coupled with issues in the secondary and some defensive problems, will keep the Bengals from 10 wins, though they won't fall apart. 9-7 sounds about right.
Things look far more grim for the Cleveland Browns. The choice is an old rookie or an underwhelming third-year player at quarterback—that's not a choice that instills confidence, especially with some questions at wide receiver.
Getting Trent Richardson is great, but he's just one player and the Browns need far more.
The defense will keep them in games, but the offense won't win many of those. A sub-.500 season looks very likely for Cleveland again this year.
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