The question now is if the AFC North can repeat the feat they accomplished last year when both Wild Card teams came from from the division. Baltimore was the division winner last season, while Pittsburgh and Cincinnati came away with the wild card spots. Of course, in most years the Bengals record would not have been good enough to make it in the first place.
A 9-7 record would have gotten a team in the AFC into the playoffs just once in the last four years. However, it can be argued (and prayed for) that the Bengals will be better than last year. And there is no reason to believe that the Steelers or Ravens will fall down, at least that far to 9-7.
If there is going to be one concern, it will be that the AFC North teams are going to play the AFC East and NFC East this season. That is a bit of a step up this season, but more so it takes away those opponents for other teams in other divisions. It could very well mean that teams from the AFC West or South could have better records.
But taking a look at those two division, it is tough to really consider teams from the West or South. The Broncos will likely win the division again because of Manning, and I’m not sold on any other team being good enough to compete for a wildcard spot. The South again has the Texans, maybe the Titans will have a shot.
It will come down to the AFC North and AFC East. They get to play each other. The question of whether their will be a division with three teams will be the games between the two teams. Particularly the AFC North vs. the Bills and Jets.
The answer is a definite yes, there AFC North can repeat what they did last year. However, they will have to take care of business on their own and not rely on other teams to do their dirty work for them.