1. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers won the AFC North division last season and are a trendy pick to possibly reach the Super Bowl. The Steelers will be led by the best trio in the game, Ben Roethlisberger – Le’Veon Bell – Antonio Brown. Last season, they showed that it was impossible to defend the running and passing game and their dominance is sure to continue this season. The biggest question mark for Pittsburgh is their defense. The defense will be led by their front seven, especially their linebackers. The front seven has a lot of talent since 5 players are former first round picks and 1 is a second round pick. In the secondary, the Steelers will have to replace Troy Polumalu, but the addition of Brandon Boykin should help.
2. Baltimore Ravens
Last season, the Ravens barely squeaked into the playoffs as the number 6 seed and hope to improve this season after a good draft and offseason. The Ravens have solid talent on offense with Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett, Steve Smith, and rookie first round Brandon Perriman. On defense, the team will be led by their linebacking core, like the Steelers. The linebacking core has two first round picks, Terrell Suggs and CJ Mosley, and two second round picks, Daryl Smith and Courtney Upshaw. However, unlike the Steelers, the Ravens have a very good secondary with upcoming star Jimmy Smith and consistent veteran Lardarious Webb.
3. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals have made four consecutive playoffs, but have yet to win a game in the playoffs. The Bengals have an extraordinarily amount of talent, but Andy Dalton is not a big game quarterback and neither is the entire team. The Bengals will likely win all of the games that they are suppose to win, but pull off no upsets or impressive finishes. On offense, the Bengals have playmakers like AJ Green, Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard, and Tyler Eifert. Although unlikely, Andy Dalton certainty has the talent around him to take a step forward and become an above average quarterback. On defense, the Bengals have a complete unit with good players at each level of the defense.
4. Cleveland Browns
The Browns have not made the playoffs in years and their streak will continue this season. The Browns are in one of the best divisions in football and do not have the talent to compete. Besides the offensive line, the Browns have zero talent on offense, which will not help the quarterback, whoever it will be, Johnny Manziel or Josh McCown. On defense, the Browns have a lot of talent, especially in the secondary. In the secondary, they have four potential Pro Bowlers, Joe Haden, Donte Whitner, Tashaun Gipson, and Tramon Williams.