With the 2011 NFL season is just weeks from kicking off, the anticipation is growing. Especially after being away from football for so long due to the lockout, I’m sure fans around the league can’t wait to get things rolling again.

In preparation of that, I’ve decided to start a season preview series discussing different aspects of each team in relation to their respective divisions.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

AFC North

The AFC North is one of the most bipolar divisions in the NFL. The Ravens and Steelers are two of the most successful franchises in the league, while the Browns and Bengals have been utter disasters especially in recent history. This year’s no different which makes predicting the outcome of this division much easier. But hey, this is the NFL and anything can happen.

4. Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are in complete disarray. They got rid of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, which is a step in the right direction. But they kept Carson Palmer for some bizarre reason and are going to be starting a rookie quarterback in replacement. Defensively, they lost Jonathon Joseph and Dhani Jones. It’s going to be a long season for the Bengals.

3. Cleveland Browns

The only reason I ranked the Browns higher is because Colt McCoy has been a pleasant surprise this preseason as he’s posted back-to-back games with a passer rating of at least 110.22. That’s not to say that it’ll carry over into the regular season, but at least it’s a start. Now if only they can get the defense to step their game up.

2. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have been in the mix over the past few seasons, but Joe Flacco has limited them from taking the next big step. Is this the year they get over the hump? The answer lies in his hands. The pieces are all around him on both sides of the ball. Now it’s up to him to take charge on capitalize on their window of opportunity before it closes.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Teams like the Steelers don’t suffer Super Bowl hangovers which is why I have them atop the division. The majority of the team is returning and even though they didn’t make any significant additions, they should be right back in title contention.


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