AFC North: Ranking the Teams by Their Quarterbacks
4. Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals
Andy Dalton is off the radar screen because he got hurt last year. Plus, the Cincinnati Bengals over the years have had a period of success in the regular season only to lose their first playoff game. The expectations feel low with Marvin Lewis no longer there. It is hard to envision them having a surprise season, so I have Andy Dalton as the fourth quarterback in the AFC North going into the season. The Bengals need to start over in order to be successful again because I do not think he can get them to a Super Bowl.
3. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger is back for a sixteenth NFL season, but there are many questions surrounding this team after missing out on postseason play last year. Can the two-time Super Bowl champion still be the leader for the Pittsburgh Steelers sans Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell? Will James Conner duplicate the success from last year? The defense can make plays, but can this team be disciplined in close games? Their wideouts will have to fill the void of the loss of Antonio Brown if they want to stretch the field. Pittsburgh will be competitive again in the AFC North. Roethlisberger will also be eager to steer the ship in the right direction this campaign.
2. Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson embarks on his second year with the Baltimore Ravens. I read a headline that said that he will run less, so the question is can he beat the blitz and punish defenses with his arm? If so, they will be a threat to win the division. If not, he will continue to see defenses like the Chargers in last year’s playoff game over and over again until he proves otherwise. Earl Thomas was a good pickup on defense, though they do not have C.J. Mosley who helped seal the division crown with an interception against the Cleveland Browns. Baltimore was at home last year in a 26-24 Week 17 thriller. This year, the second meeting between the Ravens and Browns meet in northeast Ohio this December, and that game could decide which way the scales tip.
1. Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns
Baker Mayfield was hot quarterback down the stretch. He certainly grew in his role as the starter. Some questions to pose in year two, particularly against good teams is can he minimize the mistakes? Can his touchdowns to interceptions ratio be even better to take the next step towards becoming a superstar? How long will it take for the Cleveland Browns to be cohesive with the new pieces under head coach Freddie Kitchens? There is a lot of work to be done. I believe they will have to sweat it out in order to capture a three-way fight for the AFC North division in Week 17.
Looking at the schedule in December, the Browns have a tough game in Pittsburgh. The rest of the games could be to the Browns advantage. They have two meetings against the Bengals which they ought to win. I don’t expect Arizona to be in contention when Cleveland plays them. The Browns host the Ravens in Baltimore on the 22nd, so they will have a chance to avenge last year’s defeat in Maryland.
How would you rank the AFC North by their quarterbacks? Leave a comment below.
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Works cited: NFL app – Kevin Patra Jets article “Jets DT tried to convince Bell to attend OTA’s”, checked Around The League headlines and did a bing.com search to confirm players spellings