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Jooser
07-21-2010, 02:04 PM
The Baltimore slobbering continues, no surprise here. They pick the Rats to win 12+ games and possibly the top seed in the AFC. They pick us to get lucky and possibly win 9 games.

Here's the link, I can't post video from that site:

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... der-thing/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/07/21/pftv-does-the-afc-north-overunder-thing/)

Oviedo
07-21-2010, 02:27 PM
I see us as a 10 win team +/- 1 game. I see Ravens as the same. I'm not sold that they have become a dominant offensive team. It will take them half a season to get Flacco use to playing with Boldin and Stallworth is coming off a year completely without football. He wasn't great before that. I also think this is the year that age and injuries could catch up with them on defense.

The Bumgals are probably just one game behind. The AFC North will be a dogfight from day 1.

RussBII
07-21-2010, 02:32 PM
I see us as a 10 win team +/- 1 game. I see Ravens as the same. I'm not sold that they have become a dominant offensive team. It will take them half a season to get Flacco use to playing with Boldin and Stallworth is coming off a year completely without football. He wasn't great before that. I also think this is the year that age and injuries could catch up with them on defense.

The Bumgals are probably just one game behind. The AFC North will be a dogfight from day 1.

I thought the AFCN was going to be a dog fight last year, and it kind of was, but not for supremacy for mediocrity.

That was one of the more uninformative videos i've seen on PFT. They didn't talk much about anything...

Also, in the comments someone mentioned Ed Reed is on the PUP until the 7th week? What do we know about that?

Oviedo
07-21-2010, 02:46 PM
I see us as a 10 win team +/- 1 game. I see Ravens as the same. I'm not sold that they have become a dominant offensive team. It will take them half a season to get Flacco use to playing with Boldin and Stallworth is coming off a year completely without football. He wasn't great before that. I also think this is the year that age and injuries could catch up with them on defense.

The Bumgals are probably just one game behind. The AFC North will be a dogfight from day 1.

I thought the AFCN was going to be a dog fight last year, and it kind of was, but not for supremacy for mediocrity.

That was one of the more uninformative videos i've seen on PFT. They didn't talk much about anything...

Also, in the comments someone mentioned Ed Reed is on the PUP until the 7th week? What do we know about that?

I heard that Reed is slow coming back from surgery and would definitely not be ready for the start of the season if he could play at all. I read somewhere that he was even considering retiring.

You never read about stuff like that in the lovefest you hear about the Ravens. Reme mber how two years ago the Browns were predicted to take the AFC North and make the play offs? I put all the Ravens-love in the same place...where the sun doesn't shine.

Jooser
07-21-2010, 03:13 PM
I just find it so darned interesting how EVERYONE is climbing on board the Ratbird Express. I'm not saying they're a bad team, but they are far from dominant. They're defense probably stepped back at least as far as our's did last year. So many folks predicting them to go all the way. They're like the Cowboys of the east these days... :roll:

hawaiiansteel
07-21-2010, 03:36 PM
A Look At The AFC North And Steelers

We're getting close to the start of all of the NFL hoopla. Camps are going to start open and for the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans, Training Camp couldn't come sooner with this nightmare of an Offseason.

So, with every beginning to a Season, you start getting all of the Predictions pouring in. Anyone that subscribes to a Fantasy Football Magazine and newsletters have already started looking at all of the changes with the teams and are mapping out their choices for Fantasy Drafts.

Now, it is time to look at the revamped and very unpredictable

AFC North Division


Usually regarded as the armpit of the AFC North, the Browns have been anything but "competitive" since rejoining the NFL. Their Head Coaches have been lousy, their GM have been lousy, they can't draft Quarterbacks to save their lives. Every team in the AFC North have looked forward to facing the Browns twice a year to inflate and pad their stats. That could be coming to an end.

While I'm not the biggest Jake Delhomme fan, I acknowledge that he's perhaps the best QB the Cleveland Browns have had since rejoining the NFL. That doesn't say much for the Browns QB drafting skills but even having an Average QB could've netted the Browns a few more wins per season on Average.

What makes Jake Delhomme important is that the Browns have legit Offensive weapons that needed a legit QB. Josh Cribbs is scary good any time he touches the field, Jerome Harrison showed that he can be a very good RB and Mohamed Massaquoi had over 600 yards receiving and a huge 18.3 YPC with the ****ty QB's the Browns fielded last year! With a strong Offensive Line, the Browns can play an effective ball control game and keep their questionable Defense off the field now that they have a QB that can complete passes.

Unfortunately for the Browns their Defense isn't anywhere near their peers in the Division. Sure, they should likely improve statistically with an improved Offense but they were still 31st Overall, 29th Overall against the Pass and 28th Overall against the Run. Any improvement is taking this defense from Awful to Bad.

It's easy for any Steelers fan to hate the Ravens. They're a copy-cat team. They've been constructing their teams off of the model of success the Steelers engineer since Art Modell stole the franchise from Cleveland. They have been a Defense first, ground control team for a Decade but like the Steelers in the Roethlisberger era they are now trying to get a little more "air" out of their team.

Enter Anquan Boldin. A very very good WR who just happened to not be as good as Larry Fitzgerald On the Ravens Anquan Boldin becomes the man and gives them a legit deep ball threat amongst some good possession type WR's like Derrick Mason and let's not forget them also snagging Donte Stallworth who is an improvement.

The Question for the Ravens offense is whether Joe Flacco is good enough to utilize these weapons. For a young QB like Flacco you would think that this needs to be the year this becomes his team. Are his shoulders big enough? Is new QB coach Jim Zorn what Flacco needs to be pushed over the top?

Baltimore is always tough to predict. They have a roster than can be good every season and have always had the potential once they reached the playoffs outside of a reliable QB. For a change it's Baltimore's Defense that is questionable. Ed Reed is slated to start the season on the PUP, they replaced Rolle with 35 year old Walt Harris who came out of retirement to play, Ray "stab" Lewis isn't getting any younger. A new Linebackers coach. Last year the strong run game and ball possession masked the Ravens defense and made them look statistically better than they were. If they throw more this year, the Defense could get exposed more.


Let's be honest here, unless they are lighting up crack pipes or are just hopeless dreamers, Cincinnati Bengals fans don't even know what to expect from their team this year. Were the 2009 Bengals simply a team that caught others off-guard due to ignorance of usually only needing to give about 50% effort to play and beat the Bengals? Is this team really legit?

I'm inclined to say that the Bengals look to be legit but because they changed philosophies. That was the one and main thing that caught teams off guard last year. Everyone was used to the Bengals shooting themselves in the foot but they toughened up their Defense under Jeff Fitzgerald who was a good D-Coordinator before going to Cincinnati. The main thing with the Bengals and their change in philosophies is that they stopped trying to be this Air Coryell offense when they have no Quarterback that could lead an Offense like that and instead became the Baltimore Ravens and went copy-cat. Now they are a ball controlling, run oriented football team that asks Carson Palmer to manage the field and not put the team on his shoulders. Strong Defense, ball control run game on offense. It's hard to shoot yourself in the foot repeatedly with that sort of balance.

We'll all find out what the Bengals are this year. Was that chip on Cedric Benson's shoulder a one year thing? On paper the Bengals look like a solid team but now they won't have the benefit of catching teams off guard.


It's been one of those offseasons for the Steelers thanks to Ben Roethlisberger and ex-Steeler Santonio Holmes. All Steelers fans will be happy to see camp start.

So how about them Stillers? How do they stack up? Let's say this now and get it out of the way... If Troy Polamalu is not healthy for most of this season, the Steelers are in serious trouble. Even as the Steelers upgraded their CB position ousting William Gay and bringing back Bryant McFadden, the defense as a whole tended to crumble late in games when teams would ditch the run and go full throttle into their passing game. Guys like Ryan Clark got a little more exposed as well and an aging James Farrior can't be relied on to cover the middle like used to on 3rd downs.

The story for the Steelers this season shouldn't be Roethlisberger or Byron Leftwich or even the Offensive line (for a change) it is really going to be on the defense. The Offense proved last season it can move the ball. Ben Roethlisberger doesn't throw for 4,000 yards if they can't move the ball. Rashard Mendenhall doesn't run for 1,000 yards. Bruce Arians is unfortunately still calling the plays so Red Zone efficiency should make all fans go . But it's the Defense. A defense that couldn't shutdown Kansas City or Oakland or Cleveland last season. Special Teams are part of that equation of Defense too. the Steelers defense like Baltimore's is getting older and it became evident last season how much is designed around a Troy Polamalu or how they miss the leadership of an Aaron Smith.

If the Steelers defense can be more like the 2008 Defense then the Steelers are as dangerous as anyone in the league especially once Ben Roethlisberger comes back from suspension but as we know... freak injuries can change a team and season in a hurry. The coaches failed to make enough adjustments last season so I wouldn't expect them this season if major injuries show up.

-------------------------

In all it's tough to make a prediction about the AFC North. I'm sure every fan of their team believes their team is the one that will win the Division and outside of Cleveland whose defense isn't on par with the rest of the division, I think that those claims would be justifiable. One thing is for certain, it doesn't look like there is going to be a team that you can just walk in and walk all over this season in the AFC North. With tighter competition thanks to the Bengals getting better and the Browns at least looking competent on one side of the ball, you might not get an 11 game winner from the AFC North.

We shall see...

Oviedo
07-21-2010, 03:47 PM
A Look At The AFC North And Steelers

We're getting close to the start of all of the NFL hoopla. Camps are going to start open and for the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans, Training Camp couldn't come sooner with this nightmare of an Offseason.

So, with every beginning to a Season, you start getting all of the Predictions pouring in. Anyone that subscribes to a Fantasy Football Magazine and newsletters have already started looking at all of the changes with the teams and are mapping out their choices for Fantasy Drafts.

Now, it is time to look at the revamped and very unpredictable

AFC North Division


Usually regarded as the armpit of the AFC North, the Browns have been anything but "competitive" since rejoining the NFL. Their Head Coaches have been lousy, their GM have been lousy, they can't draft Quarterbacks to save their lives. Every team in the AFC North have looked forward to facing the Browns twice a year to inflate and pad their stats. That could be coming to an end.

While I'm not the biggest Jake Delhomme fan, I acknowledge that he's perhaps the best QB the Cleveland Browns have had since rejoining the NFL. That doesn't say much for the Browns QB drafting skills but even having an Average QB could've netted the Browns a few more wins per season on Average.

What makes Jake Delhomme important is that the Browns have legit Offensive weapons that needed a legit QB. Josh Cribbs is scary good any time he touches the field, Jerome Harrison showed that he can be a very good RB and Mohamed Massaquoi had over 600 yards receiving and a huge 18.3 YPC with the ****ty QB's the Browns fielded last year! With a strong Offensive Line, the Browns can play an effective ball control game and keep their questionable Defense off the field now that they have a QB that can complete passes.

Unfortunately for the Browns their Defense isn't anywhere near their peers in the Division. Sure, they should likely improve statistically with an improved Offense but they were still 31st Overall, 29th Overall against the Pass and 28th Overall against the Run. Any improvement is taking this defense from Awful to Bad.

It's easy for any Steelers fan to hate the Ravens. They're a copy-cat team. They've been constructing their teams off of the model of success the Steelers engineer since Art Modell stole the franchise from Cleveland. They have been a Defense first, ground control team for a Decade but like the Steelers in the Roethlisberger era they are now trying to get a little more "air" out of their team.

Enter Anquan Boldin. A very very good WR who just happened to not be as good as Larry Fitzgerald On the Ravens Anquan Boldin becomes the man and gives them a legit deep ball threat amongst some good possession type WR's like Derrick Mason and let's not forget them also snagging Donte Stallworth who is an improvement.

The Question for the Ravens offense is whether Joe Flacco is good enough to utilize these weapons. For a young QB like Flacco you would think that this needs to be the year this becomes his team. Are his shoulders big enough? Is new QB coach Jim Zorn what Flacco needs to be pushed over the top?

Baltimore is always tough to predict. They have a roster than can be good every season and have always had the potential once they reached the playoffs outside of a reliable QB. For a change it's Baltimore's Defense that is questionable. Ed Reed is slated to start the season on the PUP, they replaced Rolle with 35 year old Walt Harris who came out of retirement to play, Ray "stab" Lewis isn't getting any younger. A new Linebackers coach. Last year the strong run game and ball possession masked the Ravens defense and made them look statistically better than they were. If they throw more this year, the Defense could get exposed more.


Let's be honest here, unless they are lighting up crack pipes or are just hopeless dreamers, Cincinnati Bengals fans don't even know what to expect from their team this year. Were the 2009 Bengals simply a team that caught others off-guard due to ignorance of usually only needing to give about 50% effort to play and beat the Bengals? Is this team really legit?

I'm inclined to say that the Bengals look to be legit but because they changed philosophies. That was the one and main thing that caught teams off guard last year. Everyone was used to the Bengals shooting themselves in the foot but they toughened up their Defense under Jeff Fitzgerald who was a good D-Coordinator before going to Cincinnati. The main thing with the Bengals and their change in philosophies is that they stopped trying to be this Air Coryell offense when they have no Quarterback that could lead an Offense like that and instead became the Baltimore Ravens and went copy-cat. Now they are a ball controlling, run oriented football team that asks Carson Palmer to manage the field and not put the team on his shoulders. Strong Defense, ball control run game on offense. It's hard to shoot yourself in the foot repeatedly with that sort of balance.

We'll all find out what the Bengals are this year. Was that chip on Cedric Benson's shoulder a one year thing? On paper the Bengals look like a solid team but now they won't have the benefit of catching teams off guard.


It's been one of those offseasons for the Steelers thanks to Ben Roethlisberger and ex-Steeler Santonio Holmes. All Steelers fans will be happy to see camp start.

So how about them Stillers? How do they stack up? Let's say this now and get it out of the way... If Troy Polamalu is not healthy for most of this season, the Steelers are in serious trouble. Even as the Steelers upgraded their CB position ousting William Gay and bringing back Bryant McFadden, the defense as a whole tended to crumble late in games when teams would ditch the run and go full throttle into their passing game. Guys like Ryan Clark got a little more exposed as well and an aging James Farrior can't be relied on to cover the middle like used to on 3rd downs.

The story for the Steelers this season shouldn't be Roethlisberger or Byron Leftwich or even the Offensive line (for a change) it is really going to be on the defense. The Offense proved last season it can move the ball. Ben Roethlisberger doesn't throw for 4,000 yards if they can't move the ball. Rashard Mendenhall doesn't run for 1,000 yards. Bruce Arians is unfortunately still calling the plays so Red Zone efficiency should make all fans go . But it's the Defense. A defense that couldn't shutdown Kansas City or Oakland or Cleveland last season. Special Teams are part of that equation of Defense too. the Steelers defense like Baltimore's is getting older and it became evident last season how much is designed around a Troy Polamalu or how they miss the leadership of an Aaron Smith.

If the Steelers defense can be more like the 2008 Defense then the Steelers are as dangerous as anyone in the league especially once Ben Roethlisberger comes back from suspension but as we know... freak injuries can change a team and season in a hurry. The coaches failed to make enough adjustments last season so I wouldn't expect them this season if major injuries show up.

-------------------------

In all it's tough to make a prediction about the AFC North. I'm sure every fan of their team believes their team is the one that will win the Division and outside of Cleveland whose defense isn't on par with the rest of the division, I think that those claims would be justifiable. One thing is for certain, it doesn't look like there is going to be a team that you can just walk in and walk all over this season in the AFC North. With tighter competition thanks to the Bengals getting better and the Browns at least looking competent on one side of the ball, you might not get an 11 game winner from the AFC North.

We shall see...


Accurately pins last seasons losses on the defense versus pulling out the fan's kneejerk rote playbook and blaming Arians and the offense. If LeBeau doesn't have a Plan B (Troy hurt again) then we have serious issues as the article points out.

Iron Shiek
07-21-2010, 04:14 PM
I wouldn't completely write off D Mason as a WR. He has a great rapport with Flacco and consistently produces...much like our elder statesman of the same position. I would imagine adding Boldin and Stallworth may help overall, but its not like they are suddenly the Rams of the late 90's.

Defensively, I agree with Oviedo, age should start to catch up...they've got some holes to fill. I got a tweet from Adam Schefter (I believe) that says Reed expects to start the season on the PUP list (missing the first 6 games of the year). That's a big blow right from the jump.

ikestops85
07-21-2010, 04:27 PM
Everyone was used to the Bengals shooting themselves in the foot but they toughened up their Defense under Jeff Fitzgerald who was a good D-Coordinator before going to Cincinnati.

I have a hard time believing a person knows what they are talking about when they credit some guy (Jeff Fitzgerald) as being their D-Coordinator when it is actually someone else (Mike Zimmer). Unfortunately I have to agree that Zimmer has dramatically improved the bengals defense. I think Lewis is a big enough screw up that we won't have to worry about the bengals this year though.

ANPSTEEL
07-21-2010, 04:44 PM
I wouldn't completely write off D Mason as a WR. He has a great rapport with Flacco and consistently produces...much like our elder statesman of the same position. I would imagine adding Boldin and Stallworth may help overall, but its not like they are suddenly the Rams of the late 90's.

Defensively, I agree with Oviedo, age should start to catch up...they've got some holes to fill. I got a tweet from Adam Schefter (I believe) that says Reed expects to start the season on the PUP list (missing the first 6 games of the year). That's a big blow right from the jump.

I think the primary train of thought amongst the talking heads- is :

If Baltimore had Bouldin & Stallworth last season- they likely would have gone to the superbowl. The scrubs they had lined up at WR- not named Mason, dropped so many critical passes in the 4th Q against the Colts.

Personally, I think the Ravens are going to be VERY tough this season- and it will likely take beating them in a semi-shout out.

On Offense:

The addition of those wide receivers means you can not automatically bring the safety into the box on short yardage. So watch for McClain to get better performances.

And they also spread the offense out- to free up Ray Rice- who had 60+ receptions last year- w/ that crappy offense.

On Defense:

They are going to be run stuffing sonofabitches this season (as always- but better)
With the addition of Cody and Jones (from SYR) they are pretty loaded up front.

The key is going to spread them out and keep Naggta (sp) and / or Cody off the field as much as possible- and exploit their absolutely awful secondary- which is exponentially worse w/o Ed Reed.

flippy
07-21-2010, 04:53 PM
Boldin is a stud that will make the Baltimore offense. When I've seen him play, he catches tons of short passes and will become a great safety valve for Flacco. He'll take a ton of pressure off Mason and the rushing attack.

Their defense may be getting old, but to Ray Lewis' credit, he keeps them fired up and playing hard on every down. What they may lose in age, they'll make up with experience. And Reed always makes them difficult to throw on. And they still have Ngata up front who's a beast.

Baltimore will be our toughest opponent in the AFC. And that's the way I like it. They'll force us to be better on our SuperBowl quest. I'd rather see us compete in the best division instead of the worst.

Baltimore's been consistently good. So are we. What else is new really?

cruzer8
07-21-2010, 04:59 PM
Boldin is a stud that will make the Baltimore offense. When I've seen him play, he catches tons of short passes and will become a great safety valve for Flacco. He'll take a ton of pressure off Mason and the rushing attack.

Their defense may be getting old, but to Ray Lewis' credit, he keeps them fired up and playing hard on every down. What they may lose in age, they'll make up with experience. And Reed always makes them difficult to throw on. And they still have Ngata up front who's a beast.

Baltimore will be our toughest opponent in the AFC. And that's the way I like it. They'll force us to be better on our SuperBowl quest. I'd rather see us compete in the best division instead of the worst.

Baltimore's been consistently good. So are we. What else is new really?

Boldin isn't going to improve Flacco's accuracy over the middle.

flippy
07-21-2010, 05:16 PM
Boldin is a stud that will make the Baltimore offense. When I've seen him play, he catches tons of short passes and will become a great safety valve for Flacco. He'll take a ton of pressure off Mason and the rushing attack.

Their defense may be getting old, but to Ray Lewis' credit, he keeps them fired up and playing hard on every down. What they may lose in age, they'll make up with experience. And Reed always makes them difficult to throw on. And they still have Ngata up front who's a beast.

Baltimore will be our toughest opponent in the AFC. And that's the way I like it. They'll force us to be better on our SuperBowl quest. I'd rather see us compete in the best division instead of the worst.

Baltimore's been consistently good. So are we. What else is new really?

Boldin isn't going to improve Flacco's accuracy over the middle.

Boldin catches a ton of balls in the 0-5yd range and runs well after the catch. I see this as the new staple in Flacco's repotoire.

cruzer8
07-21-2010, 11:25 PM
Boldin is a stud that will make the Baltimore offense. When I've seen him play, he catches tons of short passes and will become a great safety valve for Flacco. He'll take a ton of pressure off Mason and the rushing attack.

Their defense may be getting old, but to Ray Lewis' credit, he keeps them fired up and playing hard on every down. What they may lose in age, they'll make up with experience. And Reed always makes them difficult to throw on. And they still have Ngata up front who's a beast.

Baltimore will be our toughest opponent in the AFC. And that's the way I like it. They'll force us to be better on our SuperBowl quest. I'd rather see us compete in the best division instead of the worst.

Baltimore's been consistently good. So are we. What else is new really?

Boldin isn't going to improve Flacco's accuracy over the middle.

Boldin catches a ton of balls in the 0-5yd range and runs well after the catch. I see this as the new staple in Flacco's repotoire.

He already has Ray Rice for that.

papillon
07-22-2010, 01:06 AM
A Look At The AFC North And Steelers

We're getting close to the start of all of the NFL hoopla. Camps are going to start open and for the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans, Training Camp couldn't come sooner with this nightmare of an Offseason.

So, with every beginning to a Season, you start getting all of the Predictions pouring in. Anyone that subscribes to a Fantasy Football Magazine and newsletters have already started looking at all of the changes with the teams and are mapping out their choices for Fantasy Drafts.

Now, it is time to look at the revamped and very unpredictable

AFC North Division


Usually regarded as the armpit of the AFC North, the Browns have been anything but "competitive" since rejoining the NFL. Their Head Coaches have been lousy, their GM have been lousy, they can't draft Quarterbacks to save their lives. Every team in the AFC North have looked forward to facing the Browns twice a year to inflate and pad their stats. That could be coming to an end.

While I'm not the biggest Jake Delhomme fan, I acknowledge that he's perhaps the best QB the Cleveland Browns have had since rejoining the NFL. That doesn't say much for the Browns QB drafting skills but even having an Average QB could've netted the Browns a few more wins per season on Average.

What makes Jake Delhomme important is that the Browns have legit Offensive weapons that needed a legit QB. Josh Cribbs is scary good any time he touches the field, Jerome Harrison showed that he can be a very good RB and Mohamed Massaquoi had over 600 yards receiving and a huge 18.3 YPC with the ****ty QB's the Browns fielded last year! With a strong Offensive Line, the Browns can play an effective ball control game and keep their questionable Defense off the field now that they have a QB that can complete passes.

Unfortunately for the Browns their Defense isn't anywhere near their peers in the Division. Sure, they should likely improve statistically with an improved Offense but they were still 31st Overall, 29th Overall against the Pass and 28th Overall against the Run. Any improvement is taking this defense from Awful to Bad.

It's easy for any Steelers fan to hate the Ravens. They're a copy-cat team. They've been constructing their teams off of the model of success the Steelers engineer since Art Modell stole the franchise from Cleveland. They have been a Defense first, ground control team for a Decade but like the Steelers in the Roethlisberger era they are now trying to get a little more "air" out of their team.

Enter Anquan Boldin. A very very good WR who just happened to not be as good as Larry Fitzgerald On the Ravens Anquan Boldin becomes the man and gives them a legit deep ball threat amongst some good possession type WR's like Derrick Mason and let's not forget them also snagging Donte Stallworth who is an improvement.

The Question for the Ravens offense is whether Joe Flacco is good enough to utilize these weapons. For a young QB like Flacco you would think that this needs to be the year this becomes his team. Are his shoulders big enough? Is new QB coach Jim Zorn what Flacco needs to be pushed over the top?

Baltimore is always tough to predict. They have a roster than can be good every season and have always had the potential once they reached the playoffs outside of a reliable QB. For a change it's Baltimore's Defense that is questionable. Ed Reed is slated to start the season on the PUP, they replaced Rolle with 35 year old Walt Harris who came out of retirement to play, Ray "stab" Lewis isn't getting any younger. A new Linebackers coach. Last year the strong run game and ball possession masked the Ravens defense and made them look statistically better than they were. If they throw more this year, the Defense could get exposed more.


Let's be honest here, unless they are lighting up crack pipes or are just hopeless dreamers, Cincinnati Bengals fans don't even know what to expect from their team this year. Were the 2009 Bengals simply a team that caught others off-guard due to ignorance of usually only needing to give about 50% effort to play and beat the Bengals? Is this team really legit?

I'm inclined to say that the Bengals look to be legit but because they changed philosophies. That was the one and main thing that caught teams off guard last year. Everyone was used to the Bengals shooting themselves in the foot but they toughened up their Defense under Jeff Fitzgerald who was a good D-Coordinator before going to Cincinnati. The main thing with the Bengals and their change in philosophies is that they stopped trying to be this Air Coryell offense when they have no Quarterback that could lead an Offense like that and instead became the Baltimore Ravens and went copy-cat. Now they are a ball controlling, run oriented football team that asks Carson Palmer to manage the field and not put the team on his shoulders. Strong Defense, ball control run game on offense. It's hard to shoot yourself in the foot repeatedly with that sort of balance.

We'll all find out what the Bengals are this year. Was that chip on Cedric Benson's shoulder a one year thing? On paper the Bengals look like a solid team but now they won't have the benefit of catching teams off guard.


It's been one of those offseasons for the Steelers thanks to Ben Roethlisberger and ex-Steeler Santonio Holmes. All Steelers fans will be happy to see camp start.

So how about them Stillers? How do they stack up? Let's say this now and get it out of the way... If Troy Polamalu is not healthy for most of this season, the Steelers are in serious trouble. Even as the Steelers upgraded their CB position ousting William Gay and bringing back Bryant McFadden, the defense as a whole tended to crumble late in games when teams would ditch the run and go full throttle into their passing game. Guys like Ryan Clark got a little more exposed as well and an aging James Farrior can't be relied on to cover the middle like used to on 3rd downs.

The story for the Steelers this season shouldn't be Roethlisberger or Byron Leftwich or even the Offensive line (for a change) it is really going to be on the defense. The Offense proved last season it can move the ball. Ben Roethlisberger doesn't throw for 4,000 yards if they can't move the ball. Rashard Mendenhall doesn't run for 1,000 yards. Bruce Arians is unfortunately still calling the plays so Red Zone efficiency should make all fans go . But it's the Defense. A defense that couldn't shutdown Kansas City or Oakland or Cleveland last season. Special Teams are part of that equation of Defense too. the Steelers defense like Baltimore's is getting older and it became evident last season how much is designed around a Troy Polamalu or how they miss the leadership of an Aaron Smith.

If the Steelers defense can be more like the 2008 Defense then the Steelers are as dangerous as anyone in the league especially once Ben Roethlisberger comes back from suspension but as we know... freak injuries can change a team and season in a hurry. The coaches failed to make enough adjustments last season so I wouldn't expect them this season if major injuries show up.

-------------------------

In all it's tough to make a prediction about the AFC North. I'm sure every fan of their team believes their team is the one that will win the Division and outside of Cleveland whose defense isn't on par with the rest of the division, I think that those claims would be justifiable. One thing is for certain, it doesn't look like there is going to be a team that you can just walk in and walk all over this season in the AFC North. With tighter competition thanks to the Bengals getting better and the Browns at least looking competent on one side of the ball, you might not get an 11 game winner from the AFC North.

We shall see...


Accurately pins last seasons losses on the defense versus pulling out the fan's kneejerk rote playbook and blaming Arians and the offense. If LeBeau doesn't have a Plan B (Troy hurt again) then we have serious issues as the article points out.

I'm curious what your plan 'B' would be to replace the best safety (strong or free) in the league and one of the best play makers in the secondary of time would be? You can't have great backups at every position.

Pappy
Pappy

Shawn
07-22-2010, 01:17 AM
Please don't shoot me for this opinion but I believe the Bengals are the strongest team at least on paper in the AFC North. I can't see a weakness. Their D and OL are two of the most underrated in the NFL. They have enough weapons on O to be very competitive. I think it's going to be a shoot out between the Ravens, Bengals and the Steelers. All three teams have 10+ win capability.

Iron Shiek
07-22-2010, 08:21 AM
Please don't shoot me for this opinion but I believe the Bengals are the strongest team at least on paper in the AFC North. I can't see a weakness. Their D and OL are two of the most underrated in the NFL. They have enough weapons on O to be very competitive. I think it's going to be a shoot out between the Ravens, Bengals and the Steelers. All three teams have 10+ win capability.


You don't see a weakness? It wears a headset...

I see what you are saying though, and I haven't been around to make a bunch of prediction lately. But my feeling as we sit here a week before training camps open is that our division is fairly wide open. The Rats won't live up to the lofty expectations everyone is putting on them (the jets won't in my mind either...teams that get pegged as "the team", always falter). I feel like the Steelers will come out on top of the division though...there's my prediction.

RuthlessBurgher
07-22-2010, 09:32 AM
I'm curious what your plan 'B' would be to replace the best safety (strong or free) in the league and one of the best play makers in the secondary of time would be? You can't have great backups at every position.

Pappy
Pappy

Ooh...behold the rare "Double Pappy" sign-off... :P

Iron Shiek
07-22-2010, 10:47 AM
I'm curious what your plan 'B' would be to replace the best safety (strong or free) in the league and one of the best play makers in the secondary of time would be? You can't have great backups at every position.

Pappy
Pappy

Ooh...behold the rare "Double Pappy" sign-off... :P


Oohhhhhhhhhhhhh....my god!! Its...its....yes!!! A Double Pappy!! OHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

[youtube:3jqou7pm]0BRZkupyURw[/youtube:3jqou7pm]

I like this one though:

[youtube:3jqou7pm]mXHdSOwfRgM&feature=fvst[/youtube:3jqou7pm]