Sunday, July 30, 2006

How Situ Sees 'em - AFC North Edition

Here’s my rundown of the AFC North in the order that they finished last year. For my key additions, only those players who I feel will make a significant contribution are listed. As for key losses, they’re players the team should really miss.

Cincinnati Bengals
2005 Record: 11-5

Key additions:
Sam Adams DT
Dexter Jackson, S

Key losses:
Jon Kitna, QB
Odell Thurman LB (suspended 4 games, may miss more)

The Bengals looked dominant at one point in the season, contending with the Colts for best team in the league. But somehow they fell apart down the stretch losing their final three games of the year, four if you count the play-off loss to Pittsburgh. Although it is up for debate, I believe that had Palmer not gone down in that game, the Bengals would have beaten the Steelers and who knows what would have happened after that. That’s in the past and the future leaves many wondering if they will get the Bengals of the first part of last year or the Bun-gals that stumbled to the finish. I don’t think Cincy will start off too hot with their best defensive player suspended and possibly missing more. I am a doubter that Palmer will be 100% for the start of the season. Another big problem in Cincy is that they are having so many off the field problems with players that I won’t even try to list them all. The problems are so serious they are dividing the locker room, and just ask the Eagles how a divided locker room affects the season. I have the Bengals starting very poorly against a tough schedule. It is hard to dig out of a deep hole so don’t look for them to repeat last years success or even get close for that matter.

Pittsburgh Steelers
2005 Record: 11-5

Key additions:
Santurdio Holmes WR
Omar Jacobs QB

Key losses:
Jerome Bettis, RB
Chris Hope, FS
Tommy Maddox QB (could be more of a loss than you think if big Ben isn’t 100%)
Antwaan Randle El, WR
Kimo von Oelhoffen, DT

Obviously the Steelers are the team to beat in 2006. Everyone always gets up to play the defending World Champs, so Pittsburgh can expect every game to be a battle. Despite nearly dying, Roethlisberger’s injury wasn’t that bad football wise, mostly damaging his face. He looks weird now, but stupid looking QB’s can still get the job done. Also the running game shouldn’t miss a beat with fast Willie Parker and Ducey handling the load. They will miss Bus’ leadership. The defense was solid and has most studs returning. They need to replace Chris Hope so that Polamalu can still be the dominant defender he is by blitzing and playing up in the box.

Baltimore Ravens
2005 Record: 6-10

Key additions:
Mike Anderson, RB
Steve McNair, QB
Trevor Pryce, DE
Haloti Ngata, DT

Key losses:
Will Demps, FS

The Ravens, who have clearly been a team carried by their D since they came into the league, struggled badly last year due to injuries. Ray-Ray and Ed Reed missed significant playing time last year and it showed. The Ravens should have a vastly improved defense but also an improved offense since they finally realized Kyle XY would be better under center than Kyle “I should’ve been a” Boller. They didn’t get XY but they did get former MVP McNair and Mike Anderson so if the O-line holds up this offense may actually put points on the board. It’s rumored the Raveens will scrap their gay bear defense for a 4-4-3 base defense. Also watch for Dan Cody to make an impact back off an ankle injury. Sadly, I believe that Billick will be fired if he doesn’t get the team into the play-offs. He should stick with the old Ravens O that ran off-tackles a lot.

Cleveland Browns
2005 Record: 6-10

Key additions:
Joe Jurevicius, WR
Willie McGinest, LB
Ted Washington, NT
Kellen Winslow TE (on team before, but had been broken)
Kamerion Wimbley, DE
D'Qwell Jackson, LB

Key losses:
Antonio Bryant, WR
Braylon Edwards WR (still on the team but not back until Oct/Nov)
LeCharles Bentley C (technically still on the team but already deceased)

Well honestly do I even want to write about the Browns? They have been the gayest team in the league for a while now. They aren’t necessarily the worst team, but couple the gayest uni’s with players that always die and I don’t see how anyone would be a fan. The good news is Romeo Crennel is a good coach and like Parcells and Belichick, Crennel alone could be good for a win or two. The defense could have a decent pass-rush but their secondary is suspect. Charlie Frye has potential but is still nowhere near carrying this team.

In conclusion, the Steelers are by far the class of this division. I doubt another team will get into the play-offs, but the Ravens could be a surprise and make some noise. They will upset the Steelers at least once. Here’s how I see ‘em:

1) Pittsburgh Steelers 11-5
2) Baltimore Ravens 9-7
3) Cincinatti Bengals 6-10
4) Cleveland Browns 2-14

Previous divisions by Situ: AFC West


Blogger pete silva said...

nice romeo crennel link

5:27 PM  
Blogger Willie B said...

with the Leadership that the browns got from Willie McG, and u think they will go 2-14, your crazy, They might even win that division for all we know they could win the division. Here's how it will play out.
1. Steel Curtain
2. Ravens
3. Browns
4. Bengals

5:36 PM  
Blogger Situ said...

hey Willie B, think the browns could win the division? You mentioned that twice in one sentence but then still have them third. what gives? I do think Cleveland will got more than 2 wins but it just happened to play out that way when I went thru the schedule and picked week by week. And if just having an old veteran on your team gets you free victories, then wouldn't the a certain team be NFC contenders?

9:37 PM  

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