Browns Are Determined To Change The Outlook Of The Division: 2018 AFC North Preview

Raphael Haynes
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The AFC North has been the most physical division in the last 15 years. It might be one of the most talented offensive divisions in the NFL. The Cleveland Brown has had a new offensive makeover while the Pittsburgh Steelers are ready for maybe one final run at a ring. In Cincinnati, the Bengals look to feature their young talented running back and the Baltimore Ravens are looking to reform by drafting for the future. One thing that won’t change is each team don’t like each other and it is still the most competitive division in the NFL.


 Baltimore Ravens

Record in 2017: 9-7

Key Player: Wide Receiver- Michael Crabtree

Player to Watch: Right Tackle- Orlando Brown Jr.

Coming back from a tough and grinding year, the Ravens come into this season with some questions to answer. The most obvious question is what will happen with the quarterback situation? Joe Flacco is entering his 11th season and although he hasn’t had any help on the offensive end for quite some time, his days are number because of the offensive woes. Rookie Lamar Jackson hasn’t been impressive and doesn’t look ready but he still remains the future of this team. Adding Crabtree gives Flacco a receiver who can make the big play but it might not be enough to keep him on the team. Defensively, they will once again have to be the team’s backbone and strength. With seasoned veterans as well as some young players who are primed to come into their own, it still won’t be enough for the team to compete for a playoff birth. Prediction: 5-11


 Cincinnati Bengals                                                                                                        

Record in 2017: 7-9

Key Player: Defensive End- Carlos Dunlap

Player to Watch: Joe Mixon

How has Marvin Lewis kept his job? The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game in Lewis’ tenure. In recent years, quarterback Andy Dalton could be part of the blame. It seems like he’s stuck in between an average and pretty good quarterback. Yes, they have their best player, wide receiver A.J. Green but the rest of the AFC North has caught up offensively (besides Baltimore) and are capable of scoring a ton of points. With Mixon getting his chance to start as the premiere running back, he might be that breath of fresh air that this offense needs. The defense is getting longer in the tooth and some might think that they are going down hill from here. As long as Geno Atkins is there to anchor that front line and linebacker Vontaze Burfict can stay on the field and avoid suspensions, the Bengals might be able to defend their way into a playoff spot. Prediction: 7-9


 Cleveland Browns

Record in 2017: 0-16

Key Player: Tight End- David Njoku

Player to Watch: Wide Receiver- Antonio Calloway

The biggest acquisition for the Browns might be offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Not only that, the toys he get to inherit will make his job easier than most believe. If Josh Gordon can stay on the field with the addition of Jarvis Landry, rookies Antonio Calloway and Nick Chubb and quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Tyrod Taylor, this team could be the most explosive team in the division. Njoku has to take the next step for this team to go to the next level. Taylor love tight ends and if Mayfield gets on the field, the second year tight end will become his safety blanket. Drafting Ward raised some eyebrows but this defense is young and talented. If they grow up ahead of the curve, this team might be a scary team to play. Expect this team to surprise not only the NFL but fans of the NFL as well. Prediction: 8-8


 Pittsburgh Steelers

Record in 2017: 13-3

Key Player: Defensive Tackle- Cameron Heyward

Player to Watch: Running Back- James Connor

This could be the last big run for the Steelers. With running back Le’Veon Bell committing to leaving next year and Ben Roethlisberger playing the role of Brett Farve, Pittsburgh may be putting forward their best effort yet to win a ring. In order for that to happen, the defense has to play better. They are very young but bending and not breaking might be just enough to get them to the Super Bowl. On the offensive side, the triplets (Roethlisberger, Bell and Antonio Brown) will once again carry this team the entire season. Now that JuJu Smith-Schuster has a year under his belt, he could be that side-kick that the Steelers have been longing for. We know what Bell can do as a running back and now add in a more confident Connor to spell him, this might be their best chance with triplets have to win it all. Prediction: 12-4


Raphael Haynes

Atlanta, GA

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