The American Football Conference North Division, or AFC North, is a division of the National Football League’s American Football Conference. SportsRadioAmerica.com previews the AFC North for the 2018 season. 

Baltimore Ravens 

The Ravens are 40-40 since winning Super Bowl XLVII. That is the definition of average. Their roster and main stars from that team remain to age. Joe Flacco, Terrell Suggs and Eric Weddle are all in their mid-30’s. Health always plays a factor in the NFL. Hopefully, the Ravens will benefit from a complete offensive line this season. Reportedly, electric first round draft pick Lamar Jackson will get snaps in a two-quarterback system. If so, it can bring life to an offense that’s lost its identity. The team’s personnel the last two seasons hasn’t seen significant improvements. The Ravens can prove themselves during a week four, Sunday night matchup with heated rival the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Cincinnati Bengals 

The Bengals appeared to be on their way to being Super Bowl contenders. But, after five straight playoff appearances, they’ve missed the contests the last two seasons. Many expected head coach Marvin Lewis to be fired, but he was brought back for another year. The end of the season ends with three road games in four contests. The acquisition of Cordy Glenn will help bolster Cincinnati up front, but the team as a whole has not seen great improvement. The Bengals’ defense is historically mediocre and last season stats reflect their standing. With Andy Dalton and A.J. Green still leading the offense, the team has the potential to outscore anybody. 

Cleveland Browns 

Tyrod Taylor & Baker Mayfield / John Kuntz (cleveland.com)

Under new general manager John Dorsey, the Browns have reworked their roster Last season, the team went 0-16, being only the second team to do so. While the Detroit Lions (0-16) were largely blowouts, Cleveland was competitive in most of their games. The Browns signed Carlos Hyde, Chris Hubbard, Chris Smith, T.J. Carrie and E.J. Gaines in free agency. Then, they traded for Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry and Damarious Randall. With their off season moves, Cleveland is better at QB, running back, wide receiver, cornerback and safety. In the rough and tough AFC North, this team has the potential to surprise many people this season. A primetime game in week three pits them against the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football and the country will see if they bounce back. 

Pittsburgh Steelers 

Like most of the last decade, the Steelers are still the AFC North’s best team, as well as Super Bowl contenders. Last year’s catch ruling against the Patriots now stands and if it were in place last year, the Steelers might possibly have been in the Super Bowl. Todd Haley’s departure as offensive coordinator might be a shining light as he had friction with QB “Big Ben” Roethlisberger regarding questionable play-calling. Pittsburgh’s defense is a work in progress, but still the best in the division. While the defense works out it’s kinks, the Steelers have the league’s best combination of skill-position talent in Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, few teams will be able to match their scoring output. 

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S.K. Patrick is a young, up-and-coming sports journalist from Louisville, Ky with over 4 years of sports journalism experince. Born April 17, 1990, Patrick attended Pleasure Ridge Park High School and graduated from the University of Louisville with his associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in communication. Fueled by a passion for sports since his childhood, Patrick has been part of the local sports journalism community for several years. He’s also a former high school football player and little league coach. “Sports are my true passion in life,” he says. “I’m very objective and open-minded when it comes to the teams that I support. “ Patrick has covered press conferences for U of L’s Sports Information Office, reporting on Rick Pitino, Bobby Petrino, Jimbo Fisher, Teddy Bridgewater, Jameis Winston, Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski and many others. Patrick describes his sports reporting style as, "opinion-based with facts supporting them" and he’s pleased to have the opportunity to partner with SportsRadioAmerica. “This website is a chance for me to enhance my writing skills, popularize myself and have my work be viewed on a national level,” Stephen says. “Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @BuiltToWin323.”

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