Wednesday, August 30, 2006

AFC North Predictions

Pittsburgh Steelers
I doubted the Steelers all the way to the Super Bowl last year and they really gave me the finger. A Super Bowl ring finger to boot. I've learned my lesson. Kind of. I don't think they'll win it all but I am going to pick them to win this division. They still are stacked on defense and the offensive line. They may miss Bettis in short yardage situations but again that offensive line will open up some holes even for Parker or Staley. Roethlisberger is solid and they are well coached. It won't be easy but I think they'll be seeing the playoffs again.

Division Prediction: 1st
Playoff Prediction: One and done

Baltimore Ravens
I'm picking the Ravens to take a Wild Card spot based solely on Steve McNair. That might be just a little crazy but I'm sticking to it. They still have a tough defense led by Ed Reed and Ray Lewis and if McNair can stay healthy (it's a big if I know) and their running game can get back to business after taking a year off then they will be a tough team to play. This may not be the smart pick for a Wild Card but didn't we already establish that I'm not always the sharpest tool in the shed? (Just don't call me a hoe). My gut tells me it may just be the Ravens year to do something.'s either that or just some really bad pizza that hasn't settled yet.

Division Prediction: 2nd
Playoff Prediction: Wild Card game

Cincinnati Bengals
After watching the Bengals dismantle the Packers on Monday it would seem fairly silly not to pick them for the playoffs. Hell they may be a Super Bowl team this year. And on paper it's the right pick. Except Carson Palmer's knee is not on paper, it's on the field week after week. I just think one of these feel good, miraculous comeback stories from the offseason (Brees, Culpepper, Palmer, etc.) has got to end badly. Wouldn't the odds say one of these guys will have some bad luck and get reinjured? So I rolled the dice with McNair staying healthy for the Ravens and I'm betting that the opposite happens for Palmer. If he's healthy then the Bengals are going to be fine but if he misses significant time with knee swelling or reinjury then I think they are screwed. By the way, the orange socks have got to go.

Division Prediction 3rd
Playoff Prediction: Bad luck will kill them again

Cleveland Browns
This could be one of those teams that catch everybody by surprise. Crennel is a Bellichick disciple and supposedly he is installing a winning attitude again. Frye, Edwards, Winslow, Green, and Droughns have shown flashes of talent on offense but will they become scary? I'm not sold on their defense even with ex-pat Willie McGinest. They'll improve and maybe contend next year.

Division Prediction: last
Playoff Prediction: still looking to the future

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