In 2019, the AFC North was disappointing to most. The Pittsburgh Steelers lost out on a full season of Big Roethlisberger, the Cleveland Browns underachieved with their new addition in Odell Beckham Jr, the Baltimore Ravens were knocked out of the postseason prematurely, and the Cincinnati Bengals continued their rebuild. This season however, the division is one that happens to be skyrocketing in the right direction.
4. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals did everything right this offseason. Often times, teams will overthink the first pick in the NFL Draft. However, the Bengals stuck with their gut in selecting quarterback Joe Burrow. He should be the guy to lead this team into a brighter future. While they may not be ready to truly compete for a Super Bowl this season, they do have an improved roster.
Breakout Player- QB Joe Burrow
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger coming back is more concerning than most think. With Eli Manning retired and Philip Rivers showing his age, I don’t see how Roethlisberger makes this team a playoff contender. This doesn’t include the fact that he is coming off major elbow surgery at 38-years old. While he is an upgrade from the previous play of Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges, his level of play this season is already in question. Despite the concern, the Steelers remain a talented team with a star-studded defense.
Breakout Player- WR James Washington
2. Cleveland Browns
A new head coach is a huge addition for a team with unlimited talent on their roster. A major flaw in last season’s lack of success involved the failed efforts of former head coach Freddie Kitchens. With Kevin Stefanski now taking the reigns, there is reason to believe the talent on paper will translate on the field. At best, the Browns could find themselves in the hunt for the Wild Card.
Breakout Player- OT Jedrick Wills Jr.
1. Baltimore Ravens
In the offseason, one of the best teams in the NFL somehow got better. Adding talents such as Calais Campbell, Patrick Queen, J.K. Dobbins, and Derek Wolfe makes the Ravens an easy option for AFC North Champions. If Lamar Jackson can make another step like he did last year, Baltimore will be difficult to stop on both sides of the ball.
Breakout Player- WR Marquise Brown