Posted on: May 11, 2008 5:46 pm

AFC North

1.        Pittsburg Steelers : Last years AFC North champions that surprised most with the change of the guard from Bill Cower to Mike Tomlin was able to post a 10-6 record that most would have thought would have struggled. Troubles on the OL made for some of the difficulties that were obvious through the season. Even with the difficulties that the Steelers had the run and passing game was spot on and if had additional depth in order to fill the gaps late in the season this could have been a special year for them. The leaving of Alan Faneca was in a lot of ways not as bad as people thought. An 11 year veteran, the OL needed youth and versatility that Faneca alone could not resolve.  This year the drafting of RB Mendenhall and WR Limas Sweed to add to the passing and running style that the Steelers have been famous for over decades will return with a vengeance and even surprise some that will doubt them this year. Still reeling from the two looses from the Jaguars at home in Pittsburg has never happened in the 75 year history of the franchise is something that will fuel them this season and the game at Jaguars 05 Oct 08 will only bring the excitement to a new level. Former AFC Central rivals have forged a smash mouth game that few can match. 2008-09 projected standings 10-6   <o:p></o:p>

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2.        <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Cleveland</st1:city></st1:place> Browns: Last years surprise sleeper team that with Derrick Anderson posted a 10-6 record that if it was not for a late season melt down would have returned to the playoffs as the #6 seed since 2002. With the drafting of QB Brady Quinn and OT Joe Thomas has added new dimensions to the game and this years trading, drafting and signing 23 players in the off-season will only add depth and potential starters to the rotation that was a dire need late in the season. The Browns are this year’s potential wild card pick to win the AFC North and if not able to win the AFC North crown should be able to compete for the #6 seed once again. 2008-09 projected standings 10-6   <o:p></o:p>

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3.        <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Cincinnati</st1:place></st1:city> Bengals: This off-season started with an adventure of attitudes with the antics of Chad Johnson wanting a trade, and a slew of problems that are guaranteed to make any organization have migraines for years to come. Posed to make a hard run at the AFC North title last year the melt down on both defense and offense made for a long year that most on the team wished they could just go to bed and wake up and it all be over. The off-season was no better with having to draft, sign and battle personnel issues this year will be a knuckle bitter until something positive happens. History shows that clients of Drew Rosenhaus (Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens) get there way eventually, so this year should be no different. Speculations are that Chad Johnson will not sit out the season but will make every effort to demand a trade. The thought process from the Bengals organization is that if they give in they will have others follow suit. From Johnson’s point of view is that if he causes enough problems he will get what he wants. What normally leads to locker room disarray will prove to be another long year for the Bengals. 2008-09 projected record 6-10, top 5 pick in 2009 NFL draft.   <o:p></o:p>

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4.        <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Baltimore</st1:city></st1:place> Ravens: A team in transition and rebuilding still has the veteran experience and focus to make those that doubt there abilities a painful thought in the aftermath. Anchored by Ray Lewis in the Defense and with the retirement of All Pro OT Jonathan Ogden will have a hard competition in Training camp for the starting job. The Ravens should never be doubted, like last years Patriots Ravens game a miss interjected Time out by the sideline cost the Ravens a chance to stop the unbeaten season of the Patriots that would go on and post a 16-0 record the first in modern day history.   2008-09 projected record 7-9, top 10 pick in the NFL draft.    <o:p></o:p>

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Posted on: May 9, 2008 9:57 am
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