Last week I took a look at the AFC East division for win totals. Today I’ll take a look at the AFC North. In the north the Bengals, Ravens, and Steelers have all had their share of successes over the last five years. Baltimore got it done with their reliable defense and steady arm of Joe Flacco. Pittsburgh’s nucleus hasn’t changed much either with the arm of Big Ben.
Cincinnati though over hauled their team when Carson Palmer demanded out. Right about that time is when the Bengals saw a drastic difference in the way the team played. It doesn’t mean Carson was a poor quarterback, it’s just a mark on the time line of the franchise. They retained Marvin Lewis which many people disagreed on and made better personnel decisions with their draft picks.
Still, oddsmakers do not have them out in front by much in the division. Lets take a look at the division and give a pick on over/unders.
Cincinnati 9– Pick Over
Many are doubting Andy Dalton’s contract and ability. They can doubt but there is no doubting the core of talent on the Bengals. It’s a sound team that has youth and growing talent on both sides of the football. In Baltimore and Pittsburgh both teams still have aged talent and question marks from last season. Both should be better but the Bengals have in my mind the best team in the division. They’re a bit underrated from the oddmakers because of the continued love for Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
Baltimore 8.5- Pick Over
Things just were in complete disarray a season ago in Baltimore. The Super Bowl hangover was in full affect. A new offensive system with Gary Kubiak should help riddle the offensive woes that lacked the punch to help their defense. Ray Rice’s down season wasn’t just shocking to fantasy football owners but to the Ravens overall. They’ll have a new look this year and be able to gain an extra couple of wins because of it.
Pittsburgh 8.5- Pick Under
Sometimes an organization needs to gut things out and make tough decisions. Since Hines Ward retired this team has lost its identity offensively and got worse on defense. They’ve become faster on defense but that’s not going to alleviate big plays from happening. Offensively I still don’t believe there is enough premier talent to get them back atop this division.
Cleveland 6.5- Pick Under
A few weeks ago I liked the over here. Normally I wouldn’t let preseason play sway my conviction but I’ll go a different route here. 6.5 is a steep number for a team with large question marks at quarterback and with a surely suspended top receiver in Josh Gordon. If the set win total was 5-5.5 my hesitancy to stick with the over wouldn’t of swayed. It’s just too large of a number in a tough division.