The AFC North starts the season with two big show downs. The most amazing thing to me about Week 1, either the Bengals or Browns are going to be tied in first, while either the Ravens or Steelers are going to be last in the division.
Bengals vs Browns:
Carson Palmer will NOT be the starting QB in Cincinnati in 2011. I believe what he says when he said he will retire. The Bengals will be starting rookie Andy Dalton against second year player Colt McCoy.
The advantage would normally go to the Bengals based on Marvin Lewis returning to Cincinnati, while the Browns are stuck with a second year QB, and a rookie coach, none of which can work together at this point since the lockout.
What I have to look at with this game, is which defense is going to be stronger, thus giving their team the advantage.
I am going to have to go with the Bengals, rookie QB and all.
Bengals - 17
Browns - 13
Ravens vs Steelers:
Unlike the Bengals vs Browns, this game I am going to have to look at the two offenses, based on the fact that the defenses are both probably going to be in the Top 5 of the NFL, if not the Top 2.
The real question is going to be, who will be able to put points on the board? When these two meet up you can count on hard hits and putting points on the board is a premium in this rivalry.
What it all comes down to is, can Joe Flacco defeat Ben Roethlisberger? It is not about stats and it is not about completion percentage.
It is about which QB will perform better in the clutch. So far, Joe Flacco has never defeated Ben Roethlisberger, in Pittsburgh OR Baltimore.
Ravens - 17
Steelers - 24
AFC North Standings
Pittsburgh Steelers 1-0
Cincinnati Bengals 1-0
Cleveland Browns 0-1
Baltimore Ravens 0-1