After two games, the Bengals are positioned well to win the AFC North. Let’s take a look at their division mates and see how they stand as well.
Now that all the AFC North teams have played two games, it’s time to reevaluate the division. At the start of the year, basically every media outlet predicted Pittsburgh to win this division in a landslide. Although that wasn’t completely unfounded, it’s clear now that it will be a tight race no matter who ends up coming out of this division.
The Bengals obviously have the early lead at 2-0, which has gotten the attention of national media. Already, there are people projecting the Bengals to win the division now – notably, Skip Bayless on “Undisputed.” There’s a long way to go for this team, though, and a few other teams to get through.
Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
Baltimore may end up being Cincinnati’s toughest opponent this season. Fortunately, the Bengals already got a win over the Ravens, which will be a good tiebreaker to start the year. However, this is a better Ravens team than in years past. The defense should improve once CJ Mosley and Jimmy Smith come back. The offense is the key – if Joe Flacco and Alex Collins can create enough of a balance on that side of the ball, the Ravens could finish above .500 and challenge for the division.
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1-1)
To discount Pittsburgh this early in the season would be foolish. However, a quick 1.5 game lead on the Steelers isn’t bad, and this team looks considerably worse than in years past. The holes in the defense are evident, and the offense isn’t good enough to make for it right now. Le’Veon Bell holding out isn’t helping, but he’s not the problem. With Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, the Steelers will always be a threat. The Bengals could help themselves out a lot if they can beat this team while they’re down, though.
Cleveland Browns (0-1-1)
Much like the Bengals, there is something different about this Browns team. Through two games, they have already shown they will be competitive with anyone. After almost knocking off the Steelers in Week 1, they were just a coupled missed field goals away from beating the Saints in the Superdome last week. Tyrod Taylor and Jarvis Landry give this team offensive stability behind a good O-line, and the defense is at least improved. Denzel Ward may get himself in consideration for Rookie of the Year. I don’t expect Cleveland to win this division, but they will be a thorn in everyone’s side.