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Cincinnati Bengals: 4 reasons the AFC North will be the best in the NFL

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(Photo by Justin Aller /Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Aller /Getty Images) /
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BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens hugs quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns after the Baltimore Ravens 26-24 win over Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens hugs quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns after the Baltimore Ravens 26-24 win over Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Lamar Jackson managed to unseat a long-time starter in Baltimore. In doing so, Jackson and the Ravens are now tied at the hip, hoping that what the rookie flashed was the real deal and not a mirage.

Jackson is probably the most dynamic of the two second-year quarterbacks in the division. But after a rookie year with a playoff appearance, the expectation is more of the same in his sophomore season.

Given the offensive climate in the National Football League, Jackson is a natural fit. A quarterback with the second option in speed has a lot of opportunities. Look at Russell Wilson in Seattle or the scrambling ability of current MVP Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City.

Jackson is, in real-time, the future of the position. If, and it’s a big “if,” he can maintain and advance his game in 2019, Baltimore will be back in the playoffs this season, and seasons to come.

dark. Next. 4 reasons the Bengals will start the 2019 season 2-2

The AFC North is rich in talent at key positions. Mayfield, Taylor, Jackson, and Smith-Schuster are the best example of an AFC North loaded with optimism rooted in tangible examples. While the media has and still swoons over the Dallas Cowboys and the NFC East, the North is on deck for big things in 2019. Something a lot of other divisions simply can’t match.

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