This week, we will be profiling the teams of the AFC North: the Ravens, the Steelers, the Bengals, and the Browns. This is a very competitive division with three of the four teams making the playoffs last season. The Browns were the lone non post season team of the division. What makes this division so competitive could stem from the hatred, but also respect that these teams have for each other. There are always epic battles when these teams play one another. This division also has some of the NFL’s greatest and loyal fans. Anytime you see these teams play, you see the Terrible Towels, the Dawg Pound, the Cincy Jungle, and the Ravens faithful. The competition will continue this upcoming season. Starting with the 2000 Superbowl win of the Baltimore Ravens, this division has won a total of 3 Superbowls. The Pittsburgh Steelers have won a league high 6 total Lombardi trophies.
Bad Blood in this Division: No modern day rivalry compares to that of the Steelers and the Ravens. In recent years, who ever wins the battle during the season often wins the division and goes deep in the playoffs. These are two powerhouse teams, often ranking 1st and 2nd in the league every year. Many players do not make it thru their matchups with no injury. The Steelers have been the most successful and as a result, have been the largest target. One of their Superbowl wins came thru a favored Cincinnati Bengals playoff game in which Carson Palmer got injured. That still stings Bengals fans like it was yesterday.
Division Superstars: There are many superstars in the AFC North. In fact, the defensive side of the ball is stacked with big time players. Ray Lewis is the face of the Baltimore Ravens and NFL defense. Safety Ed Reed (of the Ravens) and Safety Troy Polamolu (of the Steelers) have been a problem for O coordinators for years. Recent superstars like QB Ben Roethlisburger and linebacker T. Sizzle (of the Ravens) have made names for themselves over the years. Up and coming players in this division include rockstar receiver Mike Wallace (of the Steelers) and sophomore players Andy Dalton and AJ Green of the Bengals. Cleveland has one jack of all trades in Josh Cribbs.
Ranking Last Season: Baltimore (12-4); Pittsburgh (12-4); Cincinnati (9-7); Cleveland (4-12)
2012 Division Showdowns: Week One, Bengals at Ravens, Week Two, Browns at Bengals, Week Four, Browns at Ravens, Week Six, Bengals at Browns, Week Seven, Steelers at Bengals, Week Nine, Ravens a Browns, Week Eleven, Ravens at Steelers, Week Twelve, Steelers at Browns, Week Thirteen, Steelers at Ravens, Week Seventeen, Browns, at Steelers and Ravens at Bengals.