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AFC North Prediction 2016

The AFC North has always been known as a tough and brutal division for any who dare to compete for the crown. Pittsburgh has the tradition and the rings, Baltimore has its own ring, and Cincinnati has had a very strong stretch recently. Cleveland fans continue to wait for me to mention their accolades…

LeVeon Bell’s suspension will have an influence on this division but I still think the Pittsburgh Steelers win this division and I will tell you why. Offense, offense, and more offense is the reason why the Steelers will outgun every team in this division. The ground and pound days of the Steelers of old are gone and in are the days of the air attack. Big Ben has been given a team around him that compliments his talent and he has confirmed their confidence in them and then some. Antonio Brown has gone from relative unknown to maybe the best wide receiver in the game today and most consistent. The Steelers have drafted on defense recently to address the decaying defense and I think it will improve. In the first round this year, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Artie Burns out of Miami (FL) and his cover corner skills will only help the secondary. Later in the second round, the Steelers selected safety Sean Davis out of Maryland. Once you add in Jarvis Jones in the linebacking core, the Steelers defense can become something that matures into a solid defense.

The odds for the AFC North are shown by one poll as:

Pittsburgh had the #3 total offense in the NFL in 2015 despite missing LeVeon Bell and Martavis Bryant for most of the season. 2015 saw the Steelers throw for 4,603 yards and run for 1,724 yards. The total offense was 6,327 yards and that includes Landry Jones/Michael Vick at quarterback at various points of the season. The Steelers had the #21 ranked total defense but when you look at points allowed they were #11. Pittsburgh had a bend but not break defense and they took advantage of that. The defense took the ball away 30 times which ranked the Steelers as tied for #3 in the NFL.

I think Cincinnati had their shot at the top and they blew it. Andy Dalton led them to several postseason appearances and the Steelers were down during this period. Pittsburgh has created an offensive juggernaut and I think this year they win the AFC North and make a serious run at the Super Bowl in Houston.

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