Baltimore Ravens 10-6
Several analysts are already putting the Ravens in the Super Bowl, but I am not ready to crown them yet. I am ready to put them as AFC North Champions for 2010. Getting Anquan Boldin to lineup across from Mark Clayton has added much needed firepower to the Ravens defense. Ray Rice is a superstar in the making and the Ravens finally have someone to take over the thrown at tight end as Heap gets ready to retire in Ed Dickson from Oregon. Even if Sergio Kindle can’t start this year due to his transition into the NFL, expect the Ravens defense to be as tough as ever. The Ravens pick up 10 wins in a tough division and win the AFC North.
Cincinnati Bengals 9-7
The Bengals have added a much needed tight end in Gresham, receiver in Antonio Bryant, defensive end in Carlos Dunlap, and addressed several other needs during the draft. The Bengals had the most underrated draft in the NFL, as they got several steals including CB Ghee and WR Jordan Shipley in the third along with talented Kansas WR Dezmon Briscoe in the 6th round. There are still some holes on defense, so the win total might not reflect the positive change in personnel. I would not be surprised at all if the Bengals made the playoffs, but in a season that will be full of very good AFC teams, I have them just missing the post-season.
Pittsburgh Steelers 6-10
I am not expecting to make any friends in Pittsburgh this year, but the Steelers are facing a lot of obstacles to have even a bearable year. Even throwing out Roethlisberger’s suspension, their leading receiver has been traded away, they have no Willie Parker to run along with Mendenhall, and Hines Ward is not getting any younger. How many games can Dennis Dixon win? If Roethlisberger is suspended only 4 games, Dixon will face the Falcons, Titans, Buccaneers, and Ravens, only one of those I see the Steelers winning. When Big Ben gets back on the field he will face many challenges especially when on the road. This team simply is not as talented as in previous years, and with all of the questions surrounding Roethlisberger they will struggle and end with anywhere from 4-7 wins.
Cleveland Browns 3-13
Bad teams that bring in new quarterbacks do not usually see a large improvement the first year, just ask the Lions. The Browns will be forced to start either struggling quarterback Jake Delhomme or rookie quarterback Colt McCoy unless Seneca Wallace shows something that no one has seen from him before. The Browns have a makeshift group of receivers and an over the hill Ben Watson playing tight end. The defense looks even worse than the offense. The 31st ranked defense in yards allowed from 2010 is back with a couple of young improvements, but nothing to change their fortune in a single year. The Browns have a long road to travel before they start racking up wins.
See Other 2010 NFL Division Predictions:
AFC East- http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2985734/2010_afc_east_division_predictions.html?cat=14
AFC South- http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2987252/2010_afc_south_division_predictions.html?cat=14