AFC North Preview

AFC North:

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7)
  3. Cleveland Browns (8-8)
  4. Baltimore Ravens (7-9)

 

Baltimore Ravens

Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

2013 Record: 8-8

2014 Draft: Shockingly, the Ravens went defense heavy in the draft, drafting C.J. Mosely (ILB, Alabama), Timmy Jernigan (DT, Florida State), and Terrence Brooks (S, Florida State) with their first three picks.

Off-season Acquisitions: Perhaps the biggest (football related) story of the off-season for the Ravens was the hiring of Gary Kubiak as their offensive coordinator. The Ravens finished the 2013 season ranked 29th in yards per game. That’s not good. The Ravens are optimistic that one of the league’s most successful offensive coaches can breathe life back into their fledgling offense. The Ravens also picked up Steve Smith, whose veteran presence could be a big addition to their receiving corps. Granted he’s up there in age, but leadership can often bring more than just catches. Throw in Owen Daniels, and Flacco has some more experience hands to throw to. The Ravens also signed former Jaguars running back Justin Forsett, who provides depth in their backfield and could put some pressure on Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce to perform at a higher level than they did last year, or lose out on carries.

Off-season Losses: As a woman, and you know, a human being, I wish I could put Ray Rice’s name here. But alas, beating the shit out of your fiancé pales in comparison to smoking some weed, apparently. So Rice will more than likely be on the field come week one. Whatever. I hope he breaks his leg. The Ravens actually lost Vonta Leach, Michael Oher, Ed Dickson, Corey Graham, and James Ihedigbo.

2014 Prediction: I just don’t know what this team can do, man. They could bounce back. If they fix the run game it’ll open up more opportunities for Flacco to not suck. If they don’t, then they could continue to underperform. I see it being somewhere in the middle. I don’t think Ray Rice is what he used to be. (I also don’t think he should be playing but I said that already.) Bernard Pierce should be more involved, but it kind of depends on how well he comes back from his offseason shoulder surgery. I actually like Flacco, but if his offensive line hasn’t improved any, he’s going to struggle. I don’t think they’ll be terrible, but I don’t think they’ll be great. I’ve got them going 7-9.

 

Cincinnati

Andy Dalton’s hair is the same color as his helmet. #Analysis

2013 Record: 11-5

2014 Draft: The Bengals grabbed Darqueze Dennard (C, Michigan State), Jeremy Hill (RB, LSU), and William Clarke (DE, West Virginia) with their first three picks. They also picked up A.J. McCarron (QB, Alabama) in the fifth round. I’m not a big believer in A.J. McCarron, but you know, his girlfriend is hot.

Off-season Acquisitions: The Bengals signed Jason Campbell, which is, I mean, something I guess? It’s only his fourth team in the last four years so that’s promising. They also signed offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse and veteran safety Danieal Manning. Manning is in his 8th season but has had a pretty solid career. Darqueze Dennard is expected to contribute to this defense in his rookie season.

Off-season Losses: The most notable losses in the off-season were linebacker James Harrison, (although he’s 36 and was released by the team), and defensive end Michael Johnson who went to Tampa Bay. The remaining players who left weren’t really difference makers for the team.

2014 Prediction: Andy Dalton is good. I really, really like Giovanni Bernard. He’s one of my favorite running backs to watch. I fucking love A.J. Green. They also have a solid tandem of tight ends in Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham. This offense is really fun to watch. The Bengals are returning essentially the same team from last year, and adding some new faces through the draft. I expect good things from this team. I have them going 10-6 and winning this division.

 

Cleveland

JOHNNY MANZIEL. SUPER BOWL.

2013 Record: 4-12

2014 Draft: JOHNNY MANZIEL. SUPER BOWL. Sorry. Tourette’s. The Cleveland Browns had a pretty impressive draft. The Browns have crushed my draft dreams twice now. Thank God it’s still Cleveland or I’d be even more upset. The Browns took Justin Gilbert (WR, Oklahoma State) with their first pick in the draft. They then sat there, and traded up RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE FUCKING CHIEFS to draft Manziel. It was Brady Quinn all over again, except Manziel probably won’t suck. They also nabbed Pierre Desir (C, Lindenwood) with their fourth round pick. Desir comes from a smaller school but he’s a dude that Gat had her eye on before the draft.

Off-season Acquisitions: The Browns added some veteran depth this offseason. They brought in running back Ben Tate to strengthen their backfield. They signed wide receivers Miles Austin and Nate Burleson, but Austin has suffered a lot of injures, and Burleson is no spring chicken. Safety Donte Whitner also joined the team.

Off-season Losses: I don’t know if you can really consider Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell “losses,” but they’re no longer with the team. Wide receiver Davone Bess and cornerback Chris Owens are also gone. Oh, and then there’s that Josh Gordon guy, who is still on the team, but can’t play, at all, the entire season. Littering and, littering and, littering and…SMOKING THE REEFER. Drugs are bad, mkay?

2014 Prediction: 16-0 SUPER BOWL. DAMMIT SORRY AGAIN. I’ll be honest though, I am crazy excited to see what the Browns do this year. They could be really fun to watch. Really. Fun. Then again, it’s Cleveland. While this is pretty much a new team, with a new coaching staff, there are still a lot of question marks across the field. I’ve got the Browns going 8-8, which would be a pretty substantial improvement and a step in the right direction.

 

Pittsburgh

I just don’t fucking like this team.

2013 Record: 8-8

2014 Draft: The Steelers drafted Ryan Shazier (OLB, Ohio State), Stephon Tuitt (DE, Notre Dame), and Dri Archer (RB, Kent State) with their first three picks. (Dri Archer is another guy off Gat’s draft board. Girl was on point.)

Offseason Additions: The Steelers brought in LeGarrette Blount, Darius Heyward-Bey, and Lance Moore on offense. They also brought in Cam Thomas (NT), Arthur Moats (ILB), Brian McCain (CB), and Michael Mitchell (S) on defense. I’ll be honest, I don’t know who the fuck any of those guys on defense are.

Offseason Losses: Clearly they were trying to replace the players they lost, guys like Emmanuel Sanders (Yea, I’m still salty. Not because he’s really that good, he’s not, just the way he went about it.), Jericho Cotchery, Eric Olsen, Ziggy Hood (MIZZOU MADE), Lamarr Woodley, and Ryan Clark.

2014 Prediction: Ugh. I don’t like this team. I don’t like Ben Roethlisberger. I want to say they are going to suck and go 6-10 and I’m going to smile and enjoy it but that’s probably not the case because the stupid Steelers have been one of the more consistent teams over the last decade. Whatever. I do like Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Offensively I think they’ll score points. They lost some core guys defensively, but their defense hasn’t been what we’re used to seeing out of them the last few years, so that might prove to be a positive. I have the stupid Steelers going 9-7.

sbtbigb