Way Too Early Division Winners

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Way Too Early Division Winners

NFL

Way Too Early Division Winners

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL can’t come soon enough, but early predictions are always created. Of course what is an NFL offseason without early division winners predictions? Will teams defend their division crown, or lose it to a young new team? 

AFC North

The AFC is stacked, especially in the AFC West, but I’ll leave that division for last. For the AFC North I have the Cincinnati Bengals maintaining their crown. Coming off a Super Bowl loss the Bengals are eager and will be using that loss for motivation to make another Super Bowl appearance. Throughout free agency, the Bengals were able to address the weakest point on the team, the offensive line. While they have addressed the offensive line, teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns had to address their quarterback situations. Getting a new quarterback who can click and have a smooth transition with their new team is not easy.

For the Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson most likely will be suspended for quite a few games, so the Browns will have to either find a way to keep Baker Mayfield around or figure out their backup situation. As for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season, he’s kept the Steelers at either .500 or above, but I do not see Mitchell Tribusky leading Pittsburgh against opponents with solid defenses, especially teams like the Ravens who like to disguise the blitz. Not only does Pittsburgh have to deal with a new quarterback, but also they lost Juju Smith-Schuster, who was key in the passing game.

Now for the Baltimore Ravens their situation is different. The Ravens season 2021 season was wrecked by injuries, however even with a healthy offense, it seems teams have started to figure out the Ravens scheme. Lou Anarumo, who is the Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator did a good job in the first matchup against the Ravens at hindering Lamar Jackson’s ability to run and terrorize the Bengals defense with his legs. Yes, the Ravens did a good job at getting new guys on defense throughout this free agency, but is that enough to stop the likes of an explosive offense like the Cowboys, Bengals, or Bills? The Bengals are going to be the champion of this division, they addressed their weakest point pretty good and are still looking to upgrade at other “weak” spots, and right now nobody has an answer for the three headed monster wide receiver core the Bengals have.

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