Your Team And Me: AFC North

Past, Present & Future – Baltimore Ravens

Previously on the Baltimore Ravens…

The preseason kings remain undefeated as they continue their undefeated dominance into the regular season. Unfortunately, Lamar “Franchise” Jackson suffered a season-ending injury around Week 14 and the season that was hanging by a thread disappeared as they lost 6 straight to close it out – losing to the Steelers twice to top it off I might add. The Ravens simply collapsed, but Tyler Huntley didn’t go down quietly, as he showed some good skill similar to Lamar. One word to sum up the season was “injuries”. Tyler Huntley performed pretty well and is a great knock-off Lamar. The biggest travesty was the defense, as the Ravens couldn’t get the next man up after Marcus Peters went down. They finished with the most yards allowed through the air and 9th from the bottom in rushing yards allowed… yikes. It’s almost too tragic to make fun of. Mark Andrews is still really good, however. 

Currently on the Baltimore Ravens…

CONTRACT YEAR LAMAR! Yes, this is Lamar’s contract year as he seeks a big pay-day from Baltimore, who seem hesitant to pay the former NFL MVP. Lamar Jackson’s agent, Lamar Jackson, has already said there will be no contract talks when the season starts, and Lamar means business for Lamar. Marcus Peters is healthy. 1st round pick Kyle Hamilton from Notre Dame is a freak athlete at the safety position and an amazing add by the Ravens. Tyler Linderbaum, their other 1st round pick out of Iowa, takes the helm of the offensive line at the center position and looks to be that guy for a long time. That’s it. This is the team you assembled, and it’s been the same for years now for the most part. Let’s see if head coach Jim Harbaugh can roll the dice with this group again and get a better outcome.

Upcoming on the Baltimore Ravens…

Coach Harbaugh has stated that the team is going back to its 2019 offense that saw Lamar set career highs and earn NFL MVP honors. It’s the Lamar show, as he will run, throw, and gadget his way to touchdowns. Not having an elite WR1 is a non-issue because Mark Andrews will probably lead the team in receiving yards and touchdowns. JK Dobbins is back and healthy. Gus Edwards has developed nicely for a backup role.  Anything below 9 wins is a massive disappointment and should put Harbaugh immediately on the hot seat. Lamar is definitely gone at that point, as he will have multiple bidders if he hits the market, so the Ravens better be ready to pay up or shut up. Their win total is 10.5 and they are +2000 to win the Super bowl. However, I have to tell ya, I’m not feeling too comfortable with either bet considering how tough of a schedule they have and how shaky the defense still is. 

Week 1 @ NY Jets – Easy win but will be very interesting as Joe Flacco takes control of the Jets’ offense, as Zach Wilson will miss the first few weeks due to injury. Could Joe get some revenge against his old team?

Week 2 vs Miami – First real test as the Dolphins offense looks fast and talented with Tyreek Hill. Miami’s secondary is one of the best in the league, so Lamar should have his hands full this game. 

Week 3 @ New England – Still tough but should win as Mac Jones and the boys try to spark some offensive magic while getting whatever they can muster out of their lackluster defense. 

Week 4 vs Buffalo – Hard fought battle here. Powerhouses of the AFC who both have Super Bowl ambitions. Josh Allen with the Super Bowl favorite Buffalo Bills vs the dark-horse Ravens. 

Week 5 vs Cincinnati – Huge AFC QB battle with Joe Burrow vs Lamar. Bengals have a solid defense, and this will be matchup 1 of the season before they meet again in week 18.

Week 6 @ NY Giants – Easy win as Daniel Jones and the blue bunch struggle under new head coach Brian Daboll.

Week 7 vs Cleveland – No Deshaun, no problem. Myles Garrett is still an animal, so they must be cautious. 

Week 8 @ Tampa Bay – Oh boy, this will not be easy. They will be playing on Brady’s home field too. Tom Brady in his final season is on a war path to the championship, and the defense is still good so this will be a huge test for the Ravens.

Week 9 @ New Orleans – Back home then down south again to face another good defensive squad that might have issues offensively behind Jameis Winston. This could be a huge win, especially if they lost to Tampa the week before, as this will carry momentum into the bye week. 


Week 11 vs Carolina – Easy win that should be a walk in the park unless Baker Mayfield can stir up some of that old magic with this depleted squad and get a surprise win on the road.

Week 12 @ Jacksonville – Another walk through a slightly more scenic park. Trevor Lawrence might sling that ball on the Ravens, but the Jaguars defense should have no answer for Lamar and his magic. 

Week 13 vs Denver – This will be a great game. Lamar vs Russell Wilson and Denver’s incredible secondary. This will be the 2nd time that these QB’s face off against each other, with Jackson & company winning the first meeting 30-16 back in 2019. 

Week 14 @ Pittsburgh – SHOULD be a win but could be a trap game. Pittsburgh has TJ Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick who always pose a threat to any offense. 

Week 15 @ Cleveland – Deshaun is back, so there is a slight problem in getting an easy win. I think the Ravens edge him out still, as you must hope they are all mostly healthy and the defense is capable. 

Week 16 vs Atlanta – Defense is bad, Offense is bad. Ravens should win by 21 as long as they stop Kyle Pitts.

Week 17 vs Pittsburgh – Time to buckle down and get these last wins to solidify a playoff berth as they go into round 2 with their AFC North rival. 

Week 18 @ Cincinnati – Big finale that should see two playoff teams playing their starters in hopes of securing a better playoff berth.

Past, Present & Future – Cincinnati Bengals

Previously on the Cincinnati Bengals…

THE SUPER BOWL! They lost but how about them apples with a 10-7 record?! There were some ugly games along the way for this young team like losing Week 2 against the Bears, the Jets in Week 8, and twice to the Cleveland Browns. “Cool” Joe Burrow won Comeback Player of the Year and got a grade-A stamp of approval by leading the NFL in completion percentage as he willed this team to the Super Bowl. The Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase connection is going to be a great show for many years to come as Chase proves he can see the ball very well as he set franchise rookie receiving records in every category. Joe Mixon continued to show why he’s one of the premier running backs in the league. His mobility and first move are really good as his hands remain soft. They rolled with the punches and scored big wins against Denver, Kansas City, and Baltimore. These helped propel the Bengals to an AFC North championship. A huge win against the Raiders in the Wild Card round led to Burrow dropping a 348-yard win on Tennessee in the Divisional Round, which helped propel them to an overtime victory against Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game. The new additions of Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard to the D-line propelled this defense into elite contention. Jessie Bates is a stud at safety. Somehow Eli Apple didn’t completely suck which is incredible. The rush defense was great but hopefully the Bengals can improve on a bottom tier secondary defense to complement their stout defensive line. 

Currently on the Cincinnati Bengals…

Bengals are pretty much running it back with the same group and added some meat in a couple positions. To shore up the spotty offensive line, La’el Collins, Ted Karras, and Alex Cappa all come with solid resumes. If there was one weakness to the Bengals last year, it was inconsistent blocking on the O-line. No big names from the draft and the 1st round pick is a secondary project in Dax Hill from Michigan. The Bengals franchise tagged Jessie Bates and he has reported to camp looking to earn that mega-deal. Tee Higgins has recovered from off-season shoulder surgery and will try to repeat the amazing season he had last year. Hayden Hurst looks to upgrade the tight end position as Uzomah heads to the Jets. If Hurst is healthy, then that’s another huge pass-catching threat for Burrow. Tyler Boyd is still buried on this talented WR depth chart and hopefully he can play a little better than last year which saw him have some brutal drops in clutch moments. 

Upcoming on the Cincinnati Bengals…

Super Bowl or bust. This team has no other goal but to aim for the championship after coming up just short last season. The Bengals split their season in half with a Week 10 bye. Their schedule features 5 of the top 10 opponents in the final 9 weeks before the playoffs. I really hope the Bengals front office is keeping an eye on possible cornerbacks to acquire as they are a shutdown corner away from being very scary. Super Bowl odds are set at +2200 and their win total is 9.5. 

Week 1 vs Steelers – Easy win as the orange & black gang welcome a rebuilding Steelers team to their home.  TJ Watt is still a major factor to deal with and that defense could prove troublesome as Burrow tries to find his groove.

Week 2 @ Dallas – Big test early in the season, and at Jerry World as well. Gut check for the Super Bowl ambitions, and the defense will be tested heavily against Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb. Micah Parsons on defense is a young hog in this league so Joe Mixon will have his hands filled going against him.

Week 3 @ Jets – Very easy win and revenge game from last year as they try to take down Joe Flacco who fills in for Zach Wilson due to injury. 

Week 4 vs Miami – You gotta expect that this will be a great showcase of some fast offenses. I expect the Bengals defense can edge out the Dolphins and contain Tyreek Hill enough for Joe Burrow to dismantle the Dolphins tough secondary. 

Week 5 @ Baltimore – First of two incredible divisional battles. Baltimore defense looks revamped with a healthy Marcus Peters, so this will be different from last year but I still expect Joe to torch this defense. Lamar on the other hand might have a field day if Hubbard and Hendrickson cannot pressure him. 

Week 6 @ New Orleans – Defensively, the Saints are pretty stout in all aspects and will pose another difficult challenge to the Bengals. The Bengals defense on the other hand should have a field day with this offense as Jameis Winston struggles to stay consistent and healthy.  

Week 7 vs Atlanta – At home too, this should be a walk in the park. 

Week 8 @ Cleveland – No Watson, no problem. The Bengals should destroy this team as a measure of revenge from last year. 

Week 9 vs Carolina – No injuries in this easy win is what Bengal fans should pray for. Baker Mayfield takes over a pedestrian offense in Carolina and I don’t expect many heroics from the former Brown. 

Week 10 BYE

Week 11 @ Pittsburgh – I’ll even put the must-win on this. Should be easy but could very well be a trap game. TJ Watt is never an easy opponent and Joe needs to have a great win here to build up the AFC North wins. 

Week 12 @ Tennessee – Battle. A true battle with Derrick Henry trying to be NFL’s rushing leader again. Both teams will get playoff vibes as they meet late in the season. Tennessee has a pretty tough defensive line as well so the Bengals O-line cannot slouch at all during this matchup. 

Week 13 vs Kansas City – Cincinnati’s playoff hopes run through the Chiefs and after the war they had last year, this is in no way an easy win. Mahomes vs Burrow is peak AFC competition for years to come, so enjoy this primetime matchup.

Week 14 vs Cleveland – Watson will have returned by now from his suspension, so they won’t get the same result from earlier in the season. Hopefully the Bengals cover the Browns better than Watson covered himself for all those massages. 

Week 15 @ Tampa Bay – Young vs old. Burrow vs Brady. Two great defenses. I honestly couldn’t tell you which way this goes but I’m really excited to see. 

Week 16 @ New England – Going up to Foxborough during the winter is no joke and beating New England is never easy, but with their depleted secondary and iffy offense, you can hope for an easy win. 

Week 17 vs Buffalo – Cincinnati’s playoff hopes run through the Bills and after the war they had last year, this is in no way an easy win. Josh Allen vs Joe Burrow is peak AFC. 

Week 18 vs Baltimore – Game 2 of Lamar vs Burrow and you have to expect that both teams will either be in the hunt or have secured a playoff berth. As a fan, this is an incredible game to finish the season on. If we’re lucky this game will decide who wins the AFC North. 

Past, Present & Future – Cleveland Browns

Previously on the Cleveland Browns…

An 8-9 letdown as Baker Mayfield gave everything that he could to try and keep the team afloat. The man was held together by gorilla glue and spit towards the end of the season as the injuries piled up. A close loss to Kansas City in Week 1 should have been a good sign for the season ahead but unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. The defense held its own very well for the most part as the huge issue was the offensive side of the ball. Baker commanded another pedestrian offense. The 1-2 combo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt is still in mid form as the offensive line remains inconsistent enough to prevent the home run plays this team desperately needs. Nick Chubb still cracked 1000+ yards rushing while scoring 8 TDs. Austin Hooper and David Njoku were lost all season as we rarely heard their names. Jarvis Landry was helpless as he could only do so much as an elite slot receiver. Myles Garrett is still really, really good. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is developing into a key piece on the Cleveland Browns defense. He is very mobile and aggressive at linebacker which is a great 1-2 for the rush and pass coverage. Overall, just another ugly season with ugly moments for an ugly franchise.

Currently on the Cleveland Browns…

Deshaun Watson! Suspended for the first 11 games of the season is the new QB of the Cleveland Browns, as Watson wraps up his sexual deviancy suits. I cannot believe the Cleveland Browns not only traded for this guy but opened up the checkbook for him before any suspension was even implemented. This just adds a massive footnote to the insane QB list the Browns have accummulated over the years. There’s a new toy in Amari Cooper who found himself out of favor with Dallas and winds up with a new team. You hope this guy can find that level of play that had him earn $20 million a season. Basically, two products of Texas football found themselves packing up and shipping to Cleveland to try and rejuvenate their careers as well as a failing organization. Kareem Hunt has made it known that this is his final season as a Brown as he looks to earn a massive payday. Austin Hooper is gone. You booted Baker to Carolina after an awkward offseason. One bright spot, besides Myles Garrett, is that Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams team up to make a great cornerback tandem. New year with a brand-new kind of stink as Cleveland lacks severe bite this season due to all the circumstances surrounding this team.  

Upcoming on the Cleveland Browns…

A brown & orange roller coaster ride that could go off the rails before Watson plays 1 snap in Week 12 when he returns from his 11-game suspension. That means you’ll be seeing Jacoby Brissett and Josh Rosen try to keep the boat afloat until Watson is back. Super Bowl odds sit at +3000 for the Cleveland Browns and their win total stands at 8.5. I don’t know how they get 9 wins this season.

Week 1 @ Carolina – Baker revenge game. It would be such a Cleveland thing to happen if they go to Carolina to lose to Baker Mayfield and his new team while the Browns new QB is suspended.

Week 2 vs Jets – How this isn’t an easy win for the Browns is beyond me but watch them go out and suck really bad. Joe Flacco might be able to lead the green gang to a victory, but Myles Garret should have a field day. 

Week 3 vs Steelers – Time to find out who’s the worst in the AFC North. For any kind of Super Bowl push to happen, you have to get the divisional wins, and this is a great start.  

Week 4 @ Atlanta – Okay for real, this could be the first victory of the season here. The Browns have better roster in every aspect besides tight end so you would think this is an easy win for Cleveland. 

Week 5 vs Chargers – This is the game they have 0% chance to win but watch them go out and trap game this. Justin Herbert should test this secondary and Ekeler will be a nightmare matchup for Jeremiah.

Week 6 vs Patriots – The Patriots are never an easy matchup as Bill Belichick has enough rings to make Frodo cry. The offense seems to struggle so the Browns defense should be able to contain Mac Jones.   

Week 7 @ Baltimore – Come to reality game as Lamar should wax the Browns by 3 touchdowns. As Browns fans you want a different outcome of course but this Ravens team is aiming for revenge and Lamar is playing for millions in his contract year. 

Week 8 vs Cincinnati – Back-to-back whammy of AFC North competition just shutting them down. Joe Burrow will definitely test the Browns defense, but they have an O-line that can be exploited by Myles and the dawgs. 

Week 9 BYE

Week 10 @ Miami – Good luck. Miami is looking revamped with Tyreek Hill and their secondary defense is pretty stout. 

Week 11 @ Buffalo – No luck can help this team win in Buffalo. It is the last week of Watson’s suspension and I just don’t see any hope for Browns as they travel to Buffalo in winter. 

Week 12 Vs Tampa Bay – Still don’t see any wins here for Browns. Tom Brady is on his final run at the Super Bowl and the team around him looks stacked. Myles should have some luck because of injuries to the Buccaneers O-line, but he will need a massive game to stop Tom from moving down the field easily. 

Week 13 @ Houston – Now here’s a chance. First game back for Watson too which is really ironic as he left the Texans for the Browns. I can only imagine that Watson gets 5 touchdowns by himself.

Week 14 @ Cincinnati – Watson is back but that Browns team is still lacking in all departments against the Bengals. Maybe they get a nice trap game effort to spoil the Bengals playoff hopes and build momentum for the Dawg Pound.

Week 15 vs Baltimore – Lamar should have a field day with this defense as he always has and in this road game for round 2 vs the Ravens, I think Lamar balls out.  

Week 16 vs New Orleans – The Saints defense is no joke and, if Jameis can stay healthy, I think the Saints prove a tough task for the Browns. I really like the under in the game.

Week 17 @ Washington – If Wentz beats this team, I will check twitter for some incredible memes. Browns should be able to handle the Commanders and their lackluster defense. 

Week 18 @ Pittsburgh – To close out a horrendous season they either curb stomp the Steelers or it will be a tragically close-fought defeat.

Past, Present & Future – Pittsburgh Steelers

Previously on the Pittsburgh Steelers…

9-7-1. I still don’t know how “yinz” made the playoffs. Big Ben stumbled his way through his last season in the NFL and led the Steelers to a crushing defeat against the Chiefs in the Wild Card Round. I guess beating both Baltimore & Cleveland twice, along with a Week 1 win against Buffalo, earns you some street cred, but too many big losses and a tie against the Lions derailed whatever real optimism for the Super Bowl the Steelers had. To be fair, it’s kind of ironic that the only game Ben didn’t play because of injury was the Lions tie where Mason Rudolph started. Minkah Fitzpatrick had a concrete season as he led the team in tackles and TJ freakin’ Watt won NFL Defensive Player of the Year as he went out and showed why you paid the man. He is INCREDBLE out there and an absolute game wrecker for opposing offenses. They’re your only bright spots as the Steelers defense gave up the most rushing yards and was toward the bottom of the league in passing yards. Najee Harris performed well in his rookie season and should be a great Steeler for years to come. He can run, catch, and block with the best of ‘em. Diontae Johnson is the real deal and, if he can stay healthy, should be the next premier wideout for Pittsburgh in the long-term because Chase Claypool has hit his ceiling. Tomlin is still angry, but a calmer kind of angry, as I think he’s getting exhausted in that department, and will accept what’s about to happen to this team for the next couple of years. Plus, Tomlin’s sayings are pretty entertaining, almost as much as Bill Belichicks press conferences. The offensive line was not good – just like Devin Bush has been since he entered the league. 

Currently on the Pittsburgh Steelers…

Kenny Pickett! Pittsburgh’s prodigal son is probably going to start at some point during this season, as the Steelers selected the Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback with their 1st round pick. Trubisky may be the guy for now, but the city is already behind Pickett 100%. We all know Rudolph has no chance unless everybody else gets injured. George Pickens has been DOMINATING camp and looked incredible in his first preseason game. He still has some good value on him for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year even after his odds were cut in half since the preseason game. He will easily slide into the #2 role at wide receiver. Myles freaking Jack is in Pittsburgh, via Jacksonville, to rack up the tackles and help with that horrid rush defense. Devin Bush is not the guy the Steelers organization thought he was but maybe, just maybe baby, he can be of some use. TJ Watt is very much healthy and already paid so just let him do his thing. Secondary is bad as Joe Haden disappears from this team and they missed out in the Honey Badger sweepstakes, as Tyrann Mathieu joined New Orleans. Terrell Edmunds stays behind to pick up where he left off and maybe do a little better. Stephon Tuitt retired as he chose to protect his health, and I can’t believe the career this guy had, as I’ve watched him since he attended Notre Dame. I wish him nothing but the best and good health.

Upcoming on the Pittsburgh Steelers…

Hopefully a smooth rebuild amirite? No, its Super Bowl or bust?! Well, you can leave your Super Bowl talk at the door. No way they make it past this division and that’s with a near perfect defense to even get there. TJ Watt might win NFL Defensive Player of the Year again. Otherwise, 7.5 is the win total, and just so you all know it’s a +7000 payout for the Steelers to win the Super Bowl.

Week 1 @ Cincinnati – C’mon. Steelers open the season on the road to face the Super Bowl losing Cincinnati Bengals. If Joe Burrow gets time to throw, then it’s going to be short and sweet work for the Bengals as they get their first win of the season against a weak offense and empty defense of the Steelers. Joe Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase will be scary to expect on every snap, as that will allow Joe Mixon to test Devin Bush. 

Week 2 vs New England – Better chance than the Bengals but still tough. Bill Belichick is never easy to play against but a big win against an AFC opponent is huge for momentum. 

Week 3 @ Cleveland – New era without the “King of Cleveland” in Big Ben but still a good chance to win without going against Watson who is out because of suspension. 

Week 4 vs NY Jets – Tell your mom to stay home from this game – even though it should be an easy victory for the Steelers who should roll this weak team front to back. Joe Flacco is expected to be the starter and if the Steelers can mount any kind of pressure through this weak offensive line, then it should be an easy win for the black and gold. 

Week 5 @ Buffalo – C’mon. Josh Allen at home in Week 5. He should throw for 500+ yards as Stefon Diggs torches Pittsburgh at home. Maybe the Steelers trap game this because of a Mitchell Trubisky revenge game… somewhat.

Week 6 vs Tampa Bay – C’mon. Tom Brady on the road to Pittsburgh one more time as he finishes his hall of fame career on the quest for one more Super Bowl. Maybe TJ Watt crushes the O-line enough where Tom is ineffective, but Tampa Bay’s defense is stout top to bottom and will give the Steelers offense a lot of issues. 

Week 7 @ Miami – I think this will be a massive fight. Steelers should have a strong identity at this point at the QB position, but the defense will try to contain these elite speed teams who they will meet, hopefully, in the playoffs. 

Week 8 @ Philadelphia – Huge momentum swing for the season as it’s always a huge boost to beat in-state opponents, especially this year as the Eagles have stocked up in the offseason and look to make some real noise in the NFC. 

Week 9 BYE

Week 10 vs New Orleans – No clue. Saints have a great defense and Jameis Winston could throw 500+ yards somehow.  

Week 11 vs Cincinnati – C’mon part 2. Joe Burrow continues to establish himself as the king of the AFC North.

Week 12 @ Indianapolis – GRIT GAME as the Colts have a stacked roster top to bottom. Both the offensive and defensive lines are fierce so a near perfect game is needed by the Steelers to even think about a win on the road. Matt Ryan joins this talented team, and the Steelers secondary will once again get tested if the Colts’ line can contain TJ Watt. 

Week 13 @ Atlanta – If you can stop Kyle Pitts then this should be an easy win as Atlanta lacks major muscle on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

Week 14 vs Baltimore – If Lamar is healthy. Look out because the offense is back to its 2019 format as Lamar tries to earn a mega-deal after this season. The defense of Baltimore isn’t what it used to be, so if the Steelers can contain Lamar, then look out. 

Week 15 @ Carolina – Win. Definitely an easy win is attainable here as Baker Mayfield takes over these toothless Panthers who will try to spark some magic from this soft roster. 

Week 16 vs Las Vegas – Could get ugly as Josh McDaniels takes over the talented Raiders roster. The offensive line could be exploited by TJ, or this could go completely south for Pittsburgh as battle-hardened Vegas of the AFC West division air raids all over the Steelers with new weapon Davante Adams. If Darren Waller is playing too then look out as he is a matchup nightmare for safeties and linebackers. 

Week 17 @ Baltimore – Lamar healthy then repeat.

Week 18 vs Cleveland – Beating Watson to finish the season would be a great note to end on.

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