AFC North Premature Predictions

John BreitenbachContributor IApril 27, 2010

DETROIT - JANUARY 31:  Head coach Mike Homgren of the Seattle Seahawks speaks as he is interviewed during NFC Media Day on January 31, 2006 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images
Very early on I know and things will change with injuries at training camp etc but here goes.

AFC North:
1. Baltimore Ravens: 11-14 Ws
2. Cincinatti Bengals: 7-9 Ws
3. Cleveland Browns: 6-8 Ws
4. Pittsburgh Steelers: 3-5 Ws

The Ravens had arguably the best draft in the NFL. They have spent the offseason adding weapons to the offense with Boldin, Stallworth and the two TEs they picked up. The line is simply sublime and Ray Rice is one of the most exciting players I have ever seen. The D still has Suggs, Ngata and Price with the additions of Kindle and Cody it could be even better. Lewis is still playing at a high level with Jarett Johnson alongside him and Reed is still his all-pro self. They have holes at S and unproven players at CB but their team is too good to win less than 11 games.

The Bengals are a solid football team. They have a great O-line but are lacking in the playmaking department on O. They added Gresham, Shipley and Bryant in the offseason but the former Buc has never impressed me and has only seemed to produce in his contract year. Gresham should help the passing game but it remains to be seen whether he can stay healthy. The D line is merely average and Adom is coming off two serious injuries in a row. Atkins and Dunlap should help pass rush but they're not great run defenders and thus will see limited time on downs one and two. The LBs are young and talented whilst the CBs are both pro bowlers. S is an issue; they have Roy Williams.

The Browns will have one of the best defenses next year I feel. They added Sheldon Brown to go with Wright and McDonald at CB then Joe Haden via draft. But they did lose Brodney Pool being unable to justify keeping a guy with that many concussions. They still have Elam at SS so I was surprised to see them snag TJ Ward in round two who also looks to project to the strong side. At LB Matt Roth was firing when healthy last year and they still have Jackson and Maola to go with the newly acquired Chris Gocong. On the D line a rotation of Rodgers, Smith and Rubin is solid. Unfortunately there is no similar story on O. They lack a true franchise QB and their receivers and backs are young and raw. The O-line is one the one bright spot but there are bad players on that, too.

The Steelers are in quite a predicament going into the 2010 season. They realized they needed to move towards more of a run-oriented offense and Rashard Mendenhall is an incredibly talented back unfortunately I'm not sure the plan's going to work. Pouncey was always an overrated prospect for me and Colon is their only decent player already established on the line. With Ben suspended for six games, Hines Ward ageing and the loss of Holmes, the Steelers could struggle. On D the line continues to age although Ziggy Hood should see more action in year two. The LBs are an incredibly impressive group with Timmons, Woodley and Harrison and now Worilds added to the mix. Unfortunately the secondary have glaring holes where the return of underwhelming Bryant McFadden shouldn't help a whole lot and with no other additions to a unit that collected a mere two INTs. Polamalu is still a top player and Carter is solid but the D is not what it once was.

Team stat presumptions:
Baltimore: Top five ranked offense
Cincinatti: Top three ranked running game
Cleveland: Top five ranked defense
Pittsburgh: Top three in sacks