2011 NFL Team Previews by Division: AFC North

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2011 NFL Team Previews by Division: AFC North
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
The AFC North champion Pittsburgh Steelers lost in Super Bowl XLV to the Green Bay Packers

The picture above is for fans of every other team in the AFC North. I know you will enjoy the reminder that the Pittsburgh Steelers did not win the title, because I understand the resentment.

It is just how the fans of other teams in the NFC North feel about the Green Bay Packers, because Cheeseheads rule the division and are hated for it.

A team might take Green Bay once in the regular season, but they cannot achieve collectively what the Packers can. Green Bay has either won the division or the Super Bowl in eight of the last 16 seasons (exactly as many times) and is the only one to win a Super Bowl in that time.

Lovie Smith made a point about beating the Packers in his initial press conference. The Packers coaches made a point about winning Super Bowls. It is both the cause and effect of dominating the division, and one of many issues displaying the gap in winning mentality between Green Bay and the rest of the division.

But they cannot help it, because they are sick of Cheeseheads. You must similarly be sick of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

They have been the dominant team in the entire AFC over the past seven years. They own two of the conference's three Super Bowls and represented the conference three times.

As dominant as an AFC East Preview has shown that division to be, none of its teams can boast that. And unlike with that division that has no king—one team has clear regular-season supremacy with recent past postseason success and the other with more recent playoff wins—the Steelers truly rule all three in the AFC North.

They have won 11 of the last 20 division titles and two of its three Super Bowls. They have beat the Baltimore Ravens—the only other NFL champion in that span—in all three playoff matchups. Neither of the other two teams even has playoff success in that time.

But there is always next year, and now that is here. Thus, the following are my preseason previews in the order of the teams' predicted finishes.

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