View Full Version : AN AFC PREVIEW – AFC North

07-31-2007, 09:41 AM
By Ron Borges
1. Baltimore Ravens – This may be the Ravens’ last hurrah but it could be a loud one. They return nine starters 30 or older, including their key players on offense and defense: quarterback Steve McNair, left tackle Jonathan Ogden and linebacker Ray Lewis. Yet they remain optimistic that they can repeat their 13-3 season of a year ago and challenge for AFC supremacy. McNair is in his second season running the offense and though he’s not what he once was at Tennessee, his presence was a marked improvement from Kyle Boller as much for what he didn’t do as for what he did. McNair avoided turnovers and threw 15 touchdown passes in Baltimore’s 13 wins and only one in its three losses...

2. Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals have a load of talent but must play half the season without wide receiver Chris Henry, who was suspended and is the poster boy for a team gone berserk off the field. The Bengals had nine guys arrested in a nine-month stretch. If they had been that consistent at the end of last season they might have done some damage in the playoffs but instead they collapsed, going 0-3 when one win would have locked up a playoff berth...

3. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers’ biggest loss was on the sidelines. The retirement of head coach Bill Cowher and subsequent hiring of Mike Tomlin leaves a vacuum that won’t be easy to fill. Cowher had a .712 winning percentage in the division over the past 15 years and is being replaced by a guy whose only familiarity with the AFC North is serving as a summer intern in Cleveland seven years ago. That doesn’t mean he can’t coach but it creates a question that has yet to be answered...

4. Cleveland Browns – The Browns should be improved but that isn’t saying much when you’ve only won 19 games in the previous four seasons. If they get to 8-8 they should have a parade along the banks of Lake Erie.
Head coach Romeo Crennel is on the hot seat so he has to hope rookie quarterback Brady Quinn is enough of an upgrade over dismal Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson to take some heat off him because if Quinn isn’t ready to play the Browns will struggle. Again.