This division was a fun one to watch in 2019.
Well, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens were fun to watch. Oh, and the dumpster fire in Cleveland was cool too.
I have to say, though, that by the end of the season, I was so freaking sick and tired of hearing about the 30 commercials Baker Mayfield shot in the offseason or how Odell Beckham has moved on from his childish ways of head-butting kicking net crossbars.
Colin Cowherd was one of the worst dead horse wallopers of them all but by December, he simply called it like it was.
They are immature. As a late bloomer myself, I get it.
This team is very talented, though, and if they can actually get Baker some time to throw the ball, we might even make the playoffs!
It has to start with the boys up front. Speaking of boys up front…let’s shift this discussion back to men.
Former Baltimore Ravens offensive guard Marshal Yanda retired this offseason after playing all 13 years of his NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens.
The Iowa Hawkeye was a 7-time All-Pro and was chosen for the NFL All-Decade Team for the 2010s. He will be missed, for sure.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have Big Ben Roethlisberger returning from a shoulder injury and claiming to be feeling as good as new.
I don’t know, though. Arm strength is one of those things that, if you’re 35+ years old, once it goes, it’s gone.
Luckily for Ben and the Steelers, the Miami of Ohio grad has a whole lotta arm strength to lose and still be able to drop one in the bucket at 60 yards.
The Pittsburgh defense kept them in a lot of games last season and the team should be healthier this year.
They have a big number, though, for a projected win total so it will be difficult to get behind them with confidence.
Lastly, we have to talk about the worst team in the league last year, the Cincinnati Bengals.
It appears that they are going to take the Ohio-born and raised Joe Burrow with the #1 pick or at least trade down for another QB.
The Bengals have nowhere to go but up. I still don’t see them winning more than 5 or 6 games this year, though.
The online sportsbook BetOnline.AG has the betting odds for us today. Let’s make our betting predictions for the AFC North team win totals.
That’s a lot of wins!
Only the conference rival Kansas City Chiefs have a win projection that high.
The Ravens are a team that is clearly well-coached. John Harbaugh has been regarded as one of the best head coaches in the NFL for a decade now.
2020 will be the 13th season under the headset for John and he has yet to finish last in the AFC North.
In fact, Harbaugh has 7 double-digit win seasons as well as 4 division titles including the past two years.
The home playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans last season really hurt but it doesn’t change my opinion of this team’s talents or abilities because that Titans squad was very strong and a bad matchup for the Ravens.
This team won their final 12 regular season games!
Outside of the AFC North which had no other playoff teams, the Ravens went 5-1 against teams who eventually qualified for the postseason. The rest of their wins were against the Dolphins, Cardinals, Rams, and Jets. Playing Cincy twice was 2 more easy ones.
Something tells me the Baltimore Ravens will have a more difficult schedule in 2020. It’s actually not that bad, really.
They play the NFC East which is the worst division in football and the AFC South.
- They get the Titans at home and I think the Ravens roll here because you know they are going to get up for that game!
- They also get the Chiefs at home but will have to travel to Foxboro, Philly, Indy, and Houston.
Let’s say they win 3 of those 5 and lose 1 game in the division.
They still have one loss to play with and just the Cowboys and Giants at home with a road game down the street in DC.
They added some veteran players in key spots this offseason.
I definitely like the over 11.5 here!
Okay, it appears that folks are still waiting on the draft to see where they want to go with the Cincinnati Bengals. I get that.
It’s pretty obvious they are going to take a quarterback in the draft, though.
They may trade down for Tua or even farther back in the draft for Justin Herbert or Jordan Love.
Either way, it’s going to be another rebuilding year for one of if not the worst teams and franchises in the sport. We know they sucked last year.
Let’s take a glimpse at their 2020 schedule and see how many winnable games there actually are.
- They do have the Jags, Redskins, Giants, and Dolphins on there. Let’s say they win two out of four.
- I don’t see them winning on the road versus Philly, Indy, or Houston.
- They host the Titans, Cowboys, and Chargers. I really don’t see them getting a victory here either but give ‘em one for argument’s sake.
That means the Bengals would have to win 3 inter-divisional games. They split with the Browns last year but that was it. They were 1-5 against the AFC North and outscored by an average of double figures.
I’m going with a hard under 5.5. I think they go 3-13 but worst case, 5-11 will do just fine.
This year will tell us all we need to know about this Cleveland Browns team.
Former head coach Freddie Kitchens took a lot of the blame for the 2019 season that was handed down by fans and the Browns front office.
They did manage to split the season series with AFC North teams. There are many many unknowns here.
Kevin Stefanski is their new head coach. He has been with the Minnesota Vikings for a while and recently moved up to offensive coordinator where he had plenty of tools to work with.
Freddie Kitchens was never a head coach before either. Maybe Kevin does a tremendous job with all of the over-inflated egos in that locker room. I’m not buying it just yet, though.
Here is the 2019 Browns offense in a nutshell.
Run the ball the Nick Chubb who had an incredible year averaging more than 5 yards per carry. Okay, cool. It’s 2nd and 5. Let’s try a pass.
Oh crap, within 2 seconds the pass protection has broken down (even ever so slightly)…aaaand Baker has rolled out to his right and he chucks one out of bounds or the reach of his receiver.
The dude just CANNOT step UP in the pocket.
Until I see that out of Mayfield, he will always be a trash quarterback to me.
Little 5-foot nothing trying to roll out so he can actually see…Come on man! Okay, I’m done.
So, you go out and focus on your offensive line… Which can’t be that bad if Chubb averaged 5+ yards in each of his first two years in the league and with the team.
They signed a couple of guards for the league minimum to give them some depth but have had only one other lineman signed, and that’s Jack Conklin at right tackle.
He is young, durable, and legit. This SHOULD help the offense tremendously.
9 wins is a little much, though, no? The smart move is to pass here. We don’t have to bet on every single win total.
I am thinking to go under because they would have to win 4 more ball games but I love the previous two picks enough to let this one pass for now.
Another big number for this division! 9.5 is steep for a team that hasn’t made a lot of big offseason moves and just won 8 last season.
I like their schedule, though.
Coming up with 8 victories in 2019 was impressive if you consider the fact that Ben played in only two of them.
There were other significant injuries as well.
The O line appears to be set.
I do worry about the defensive line, though, as they lost DT Javon Hargrave who has averaged 2 QB hurries a game for the past 4 years.
That’s impressive for a guy who is supposed to be a run-stopper which he was as well. He is very very disruptive and quick.
I really like the Eric Ebron addition at tight end. The North Carolina Tarheel should make a big difference for them.
10 wins, though?
Last season they were lucky enough to play the Dolphins, Chargers, Jets, and Cardinals.
This year, they’ll get the Jags, Giants, and Skins which should be even easier.
As far as mid-tier non-divisional games go, they played the Bills, Colts, and Rams last season and went 2-1 in three close games.
I actually give them 3 out of 4 at home as you have two dome teams and the home win-heavy Broncos playing near sea level. On the road, though, 1-2.
As for the top tier, they lost to the Seahawks, Patriots, and Niners.
The only team the Steelers play who won double-digit games last season outside of the Ravens, of course, is the Houston Texans who appear to have taken a step backward this offseason.
Even if they lose both games to Baltimore and split with the Browns, they should still be able to get to 10 wins.
I like the even money we are getting here as well.
Can the Baltimore Ravens dominate this division and the NFL for that matter, at least during the regular season?
14 wins will be very hard to duplicate, especially with the league watching a year’s worth of tape on Lamar Jackson’s tendencies. They opened at 10.5 Wins. My goodness! That is a true slam dunk if I’ve ever seen one.
I did take the Pittsburgh Steelers at (+300) to win the division, though.
That is an outside shot, sure, but I just saw more value than the (-200) for the Ravens to repeat.
I also went with the over 9.5 for the Steelers. Some of my colleagues have called me crazy for it so you can take that for what it is.
We went under on the Bengals. A lot of people are waiting on the draft. I don’t know why. They are going to draft a quarterback and the team will, once again, struggle.
And finally, the Browns…
Plenty of unknowns here but I think the books have them too high where they are at 8.5 but I would rather sit back and watch either a dumpster fire or a hero’s story.