2007 AFC North Preview

2007 AFC North preview from MadduxSports.com. In addition to the excellent editorials we write the backbone of our company are winning NFL Football Picks. Also if you are betting football check out the NFL lines page with up to date football odds from multiple sources.

AFC North Division Preview
By Adam Barone

1. Ravens: The AFC North, like most of the divisions, has a lot of question marks. Things we know for sure are as follows: the Ravens are really good, Steve McNair is old and broken but will still play, half the Bengals roster is or will soon be in jail, and the Browns will not be good. The Ravens will win the division. They finished last season at 13-3 and have replaced Jamal Lewis with younger, faster Willis McGahee. McGahee is much more of a big play threat and is more versatile in terms of his ability to run between the tackles, cut to the outside, or catch the ball out of the backfield, specifically on third down. Losing Adalius Thomas will hurt, but the linebacking corps still has Terrell Suggs, Bart Scott and someone named Ray Lewis. As long as they don’t replace Thomas with a midget they should be just fine. Gary Stills will be getting the first crack at the right outside position, and last time I checked, he’s not a midget. Everything should run smoothly in Baltimore, even if McNair goes down for a short period, with Kyle Boller as his backup, and they’ll repeat their 13-3 record from a year ago.

2. Steelers: Finishing in an 8-8 tie with the Bungles in 2006 and coming away with a 3-3 divisional mark, the Steelers have a new head coach in Mike Tomlin and should be able to overtake Cincinnati while the Bengals are busy bailing their players out of the slammer. Ben Roethlisberger is a year removed from his motorcycle accident and its media attention, and Najeh Davenport and Kevan Barlow have been added behind him to bring power to the running game. Though Tomlin comes from a 4-3 background with Minnesota, the Steelers roster better fits the 3-4 scheme they’ve built on, which they’ll stick with for the upcoming campaign. The loss of Joey Porter will hurt, but the Steelers feel that drafting Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley will absorb the blow. I like the Steelers to go 9-7 under their new coach because of the new energy such change will bring as well as the team’s health.

3. Bengals: A year ago I loved the Bengals’ chances to advance in the AFC, but things just didn’t come together on defense, Marvin Lewis’s specialty side of the ball. Cincinnati still has one of the highest powered offenses in the NFL, especially with the addition of Kenny Irons’s quickness to the backfield. The defense though, just doesn’t have much talent. There’s not one real stand-out player on the entire unit, and little reason to be excited about its abilities. I don’t see the Bengals outdoing their 8-8 record of a year ago, with a higher likelihood that they’ll drop to 7-9 being greater.

4. Browns: The clear cut favorite to occupy the division basement is the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland was 0-6 in the division a season ago and should fare similarly in 2007. They’ve signed Jamal Lewis to be their feature back, but it’s doubtful that Lewis can be as productive as he’s been in the past. Charlie Frye was a below average quarterback last season, but the offensive line has been upgraded with the additions of 3rd overall draft pick Joe Thomas and free agent signee Eric Steinbach; both will play on the left side. Brady Quinn will start the season as the backup and his lack of progress could delay his first start. I don’t believe Quinn has what it takes to be a top notch NFL quarterback, and think he will struggle when he does finally see playing time. The defense has a couple of nice building blocks, such as LB Andra Davis and S Sean Jones, but won’t prove to be too solid as a unit. Look for the Browns to go 5-11 and for Brady Quinn to struggle.

We have broken down each AFC North team even further to give you the edge this season. Read the individual football previews of the Ravens, Steelers, Bengals, and Browns from Maddux Sports.


2007 NFL Team Previews

As usual Maddux presents its anual 2007 NFL preview sorted by divisions. From each division you can find our predictions as well an individual team report of each National League Football Team. Click here to return to the main NFL season preview page.

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