The teams within our 2009 AFC North Season Preview are the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are coming off a monster year in winning the division, plowing through the AFC playoffs, and ultimately defeating the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl. The Steelers won the division when they finished the regular season with a record of 12-4. Baltimore made the playoffs as well finishing the regular season at 11-5. While these 2 teams excelled in 2008 the Bengals and Browns struggled mightily. The Bengals ended the season with a 4-11-1 record, while the Browns finished at 4-12 rounding out the division. For the 2009 season the Cincinnati Bengals have the divisions toughest schedule while the defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers have the easiest schedule in the division.
There are 2 marquee divisional games in the 2009 AFC North Schedule. In Week 12 Baltimore will host Pittsburgh and then these teams meet four weeks later in Week 16 when they face off again this time in Pittsburgh. In recent years when these two teams have met they have had very physical matchups seemingly playing with a level of intensity well above any other games during the year. The AFC North division in 2009 will play out much like it did a season ago. The Pittsburgh Steelers will again win the division with a record of 12-4. The Steelers have almost the exact same team coming back and will once again be a threat in the AFC. Baltimore will be a solid team all year long but will be unable to take the division title away from the Steelers finishing at 10-6. Cleveland will be much better in 2009 ending the season with an 8-8 record. The Cincinnati Bengals will be a few games better in 2009 with a healthy Carson Palmer and a motivated Chad Ochocinco but will ultimately end the season with a record of 7-9.
2009 Pittsburgh Steelers AFC North Season PreviewThe Steelers are coming into the 2009 AFC North Season with a ton of confidence after winning the Super Bowl last season. They will once again be one of the top teams in the league this year. The Steelers led the NFL last season in total defense and pass defense. There defense is truly amazing and will be giving opposing offenses all kinds of trouble in the 2009 season. They are solid at every defensive position and Safety Troy Palamalu one of the top defensive players in the NFL. LB James Harrison is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year and will once again have a big season. QB Ben Roethlisberger did not have a great year a season ago statistically despite winning the Super Bowl. He will simply be asked to manage the game and let the defense and running game key them to victory. Ben will have a good season and improve on his 17 TD and 15 INT he had a season ago. Willie Parker leads a talented backfield that includes Mewelde Moore and Rashard Mendenhall. Pittsburgh will once again run the ball effectively on offense, play incredible defense, and Big Ben will make the big plays when necessary. The Steelers once again will win the AFC North and finish with a 12-4 record at seasons end.
2009 Baltimore Ravens AFC North Season Preview The Ravens will remain true to its character as a defensive oriented team with a sound running game and a controlled passing game as they enter the 2009 AFC North schedule. Second year QB Joe Flacco will be solid for them under center and should continue the success he showed a year ago. Willis McGahee had an injury filled 2008 campaign with rookie Ray Rice and FB Le'Ron McClain filling in. McGahee will have to be a major factor for Baltimore in 2009 if they are to have a chance at the division title. Baltimore lost LB Bart Scott in the offseason and the defense as a whole is getting a bit old. They will still be a solid defense but will not be quite as dominant as years before. The Ravens will be a team to contend with each week finishing the season with a 10-6 record.
2009 Cincinnati Bengals AFC North Season PreviewThe Bengals are coming off a very disappointing season in 2008 and are looking to turn things around this coming season. They should be much improved with Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco both poised to have big years. With T.J. Houshmanzadeh gone to Seattle, these two look to be hooking up a lot this year. The Cincinnati defense is young and improved as the season progressed last year, but is still not up to par with other defenses in the 2009 AFC North. They will be a serviceable defense and the Bengals will be a few games better in 2009. They will ultimately finish at 7-9 and once again be out of the playoffs.
2009 Cleveland Browns AFC North Season PreviewNew Head Coach Eric Mangini should provide a spark to a Cleveland team and will help them improve on a dismal performance from a year before. Brady Quinn will most likely be the starting QB and he has shown that he has the makeup to be a solid NFL starter. Cleveland will need WR Braylon Edwards to be much better than he was a year ago. The Browns will show progress under Mangini but are still a year away from being a playoff caliber team. They will finish in the 2009 AFC North Standings with an 8-8 record which will be twice as many wins as they had a season ago.