Here we are with the final division in the AFC. This division has 3 legitimate playoff contenders and one team that's been a basement dweller for, well, ever. As before, I have ordered the teams by how I see them finishing in their division, starting with first place. Not much else to do other than to get right into it, so here we go. Feel free to hit the comments with your thoughts.
Baltimore Ravens: The defense will be just fine sans Lewis, Reed, and all the other starters they lost. Yes, Lewis was the heart and soul of the team, but in reality he hasn't been the best player physically in quite a while. The team will remain to be successful because of the "next man up" attitude that is being preached. Everyone wants to point out who they lost, but their additions have somehow flown under the radar. Getting Dumervil and Canty to supplement the D-line for relatively cheap, signing Michael Huff and drafting Matt Elam at Safety, and drafting Arthur Brown to fill in at linebacker. I'm not saying that these players are equal to those that they are replacing, but the needs have been addressed. My bet is that the coaching staff there will have the defense ready to pick up where they left off last year.
Cincinnati Bengals: Andy Dalton will have over 4,000 yards passing. With the addition of a reliable receiving tight end in Tyler Eifert, Dalton will have the weapon over the middle that he's been missing. Jermaine Gresham is talented, but he's anything but consistent. Now they can run two tight end sets effectively, which will in turn take some of the pressure off of A.J. Green to make every single offensive play. This, along with the addition of promising rookie Giovani Bernard at Running Back, will provide the boost that Dalton needs to get him over the hump and past the 4,000 yard mark.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Unlike the Ravens, this defense will struggle this year. Polamalu has been a great safety over the course of his career, but his time is coming to an end. He can't stay healthy and there just aren't enough playmakers of his caliber to pick up the slack. Jarvis Jones has the talent to replace some of the production that Harrison took with him, but that's a big unknown at this point. Ike Taylor, Brett Keisel, and Co. aren't bad, but they aren't great either. This will be the year that the historically great Steelers defense will knocked down to the middle of the pack.
Cleveland Browns: Oh, Cleveland. What is there to say about Cleveland? They're just.....just so bad. I don't know that I can even have a prediction other than they will continue to be very, very bad. I'll just leave you with this: When your team drafts a QB in the first round, he ends up being so bad that you need to find an alternative solution, and that solution is to sign Jason Campbell, you've got some problems.