The AFC North as a whole, is known for their stout defenses. The Bengals, Browns, Ravens and Steelers are some of the top defensive teams in the entire NFL. However, when we talk about the AFC North in a offensive view, we think of ground and pound. Le’Veon Bell, Justin Forsett, the duo of “Nuke” & “Juke” and the Browns trio of Isaiah Crowell, Terrance West and rookie Duke Johnson. These running backs all get the job done and do it well, but it may be more than just running in the AFC North now.
Jan 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws the ball over Baltimore Ravens defensive end Chris Canty (99) in the second quarter during the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
The AFC North features some big time wide receivers and tight ends; A.J. Green, Antonio Brown, Marvin Jones, Andrew Hawkins, Steve Smith, Sr., Tyler Eifert, Heath Miller, Dwayne Bowe, Brian Hartline and, if he ever finds the field again, Josh Gordon. These group of wide receivers are special and it only helps that they get to play with two super bowl winning quarterbacks in Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco, as well as a regular season phenom, Andy Dalton and former Heisman winner, Johnny Manziel.
Finally, each offense has a stellar offensive line play to play behind. Rated by Pro Football Focus, the Pittsburgh Steelers boost 8th best offensive line in the league, the Bengals employ the 7th , the Browns construct the 6th and the Ravens have the 3rd best in the league.
I have laid all of this out to show how good each offense really is. Therefore, when you see such talented rosters all in the same division, a new question arises “Who will have the most productive offense this season?”
Last season, the Steelers had the number two ranked offense. Le’veon Bell combined for 2,215 yards while Antonio Brown added 1,698 yards. Big Ben on the other hand threw for nearly 5,000 yards. This year, the Steelers will face the hardest schedule in the league. The competition will be much tougher and although Le’Veon Bell had an outstanding year I doubt he repeats a 2000 yard season, especially with a suspension still hanging over him. Antonio Brown will be difficult to stop. I believe the Steelers offense will have another great year, but will take a step back due to the level of competition.
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The Baltimore Ravens ranked 12th last season in total offense. Although the Ravens lost a lot of pieces during the offseason, they managed to rebound during the draft. The Ravens lost wide receivers Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones, as well as tight end Owen Daniels. They rebounded however, by drafting UCF’s Breshad Perriman and Minnesota’s Maxx Williams in the first and second round.
Although the Ravens made some very good picks, one can never really know how a rookie will adjust in his first year in the NFL. The team is going through a coaching change at offensive coordinator, former OC, Gary Kubiak, left to become the head coach of the Denver Broncos. The Ravens then signed Marc Trestman, who employs an entirely different offense then Kubiak. Trestman likes to air the ball out while Kubiak would rather run the ball. Therefore, there is a lot of uncertainty heading into this year.
“Browns declare Josh McCown starter, Johnny Manziel needs to focus on self.. in the foreseeable future, I don’t see that changing.
The Cleveland Browns last season started off well underBrian Hoyer
, but could not finish. This year there is no Brian Hoyer and the hope of Manziel becoming the superstar he was suppose to be has came and gone with the signing ofJosh McCown
. and the
I will say this over and over again the Browns are the most dysfunctional team in the NFL. From drafting to free agency, and from coaching to actually playing the organization is not a good one. Whether they were playing the easiest schedule in the league or the hardest, my thoughts on this team will always be the same and their offense will always rank last in the AFC North. The Browns do employ good players but they are always a QB away and to take it a step further a coach away.
Last but not least is the Cincinnati Bengals, and despite the plethora of injuries the Bengals made it to the playoffs for the fourth year on a row. The Bengals also manage to rank in the top 15 in total offense. Tyler Eifert missed the entire season, as well as their number two wide receiver, Marvin Jones. Giovani Bernard missed a few games as AJ Green missed five, and played injured even more, while James Wright missed the second half of the season.
Jeremy Hill didn’t get much playing time until the second half of the season and although Mohamed Sanu flashed early on he disappeared during the second half of the season. However, the Bengals still performed very well with all of these injuries to key players. Some players came on strong at the beginning and some players ended strong,
I feel as though Cincinnati can have the most productive offense in the AFC North due to the fact that all of Cincinnati’s player’s are now healthy and players like Jeremy Hill, Rex Burkhead and Mohamed Sanu all proved they can play a vital roll in the offense, Yes Andy Dalton will be Andy Dalton, but every year he gets better and he has shown he can win during the regular season.