Saturday, August 27, 2011

AFC North: 2011 Outlook

After going through the schedules, it's clear that the heavyweights of the AFC North have a relatively favorable schedule. The divisions on their schedule are the NFC Worst (, West) and the AFC South.

1 - Pittsburgh (13-3)
While they figure to their share of tough games against Baltimore, Indianapolis, Houston, and New England, the Steelers will be favored in most games in 2011. I think they lose 3 all year, and contend for Home-Field Advantage again in the AFC. Behind Ben's big arm, I see another big year from Mike Wallace; Pitt is a mainstay among the AFC Elite.
2 - Baltimore (12-4)
The Ravens are a team on the rise - one of these years I think they'll make a run to the Super Bowl behind that always great Defense. Self-described "damn good Quarterback" Joe Flacco will be under the microscope this year, as the team looks to have all the right pieces around him. Expect a huge year for Ray Rice, this is a playoff team.
3 - Cleveland (5-11)
After an impressive start to the 2011 Preseason, there are a lot of people on the Colt McCoy Bandwagon. While I was a huge fan of Colt at Texas, I wasn't sure about his NFL future. If McCoy can be a reliable NFL QB, then along with Peyton Hillis, Cleveland's Offense should be improved. Watch for Greg Little to emerge as #1 WR.
4 - Cincinnati (2-14)
Bengals fans have been reeling for a while now. At least they had a slight glimmer of hope in dynamic, albeit diva WR Chad Ochocinco and QB Carson Palmer. With both players out of the picture, Cincinnati turns to rookie replacements at both positions, 2nd round QB Andy Dalton and #4 overall pick WR A.J. Green. Rebuilding year.

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