The AFC North is primed to be the best division in football next season, which could prove to be troublesome for the Cleveland Browns.
The AFC North will be the best division in football next year, and you can take that to the bank. In the AFC North are three starting quarterbacks who are former Heisman winners, two of which were number one overall picks, and the other being the reigning NFL MVP, and the fourth starting quarterback being one who already has two Super Bowl rings.
No other division in the NFL has this much quarterback talent for the upcoming season. I’d put Lamar Jackson, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Burrow, and Baker Mayfield up against any other division and take them 10 times out of 10.
An argument is clearly to be made for the NFC South, which boasts Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, and Teddy Bridgewater, but Bridgewater is clearly the weak link in the group, and Tom Brady and Drew Brees are in the back ends of their careers and could see regressions this season.
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Quarterback talent is a huge indicator of team success, but even if you don’t agree with my take, there’s one huge point that can’t be refuted. The AFC North is going to have the easiest schedules of any division in 2020.
The Baltimore Ravens currently have the easiest schedule in the NFL for 2020. Their opponents in 2020 had a combined record of 112-144 in 2019, which bodes extremely well for their chances to have another 12-plus win season, which I think they will do. The loss of Marshal Yanda will hurt them severely, but whoever takes his spot will have an easier time out of the division.
Coming in second for the easiest schedule is the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose opponents for 2020 had a combined record of 117-139. With no huge losses, along with the return of Ben Roethlisberger, they should be primed for another 10 win season. If 2019 taught me anything, it is that Mike Tomlin is the most underappreciated coach in the NFL.
Tomlin took the Steelers to an 8-8 season last year without his Super Bowl MVP quarterback, including taking them on a 7-1 stretch where their only loss was to the Cleveland Browns. Considering his starting quarterbacks were Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges during that stretch, its a pretty impressive feat.
Then, there’s the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have the fourth easiest schedule in 2020. Along with that, everything and I mean pretty much everything, went wrong for the Cleveland Browns in 2019. They still managed to pull out a 6-10 record and were alive with a 6-7 record at one point, until it seemed like the team quit to get the coach out of Cleveland.
The Browns should be considered contenders for the top wildcard spot, and if everything starts clicking early, have the potential to win the Super Bowl. I don’t think they will this year, I don’t think the Browns come close to winning the division, but it is hard to deny that they have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL.
Last, and probably least in the AFC North is the Cincinnati Bengals, who had a sneaky good offseason and have the sixth easiest schedule for 2020. Bringing in Joe Burrow to be the quarterback, you’re looking at a team that I wouldn’t be surprised to see in the playoffs as the seventh seed. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the entire AFC North in the playoffs. The Bengals were a lot better last season than their record showed, they were clearly tanking with the benching of Andy Dalton.
With AJ Green and Jonah Williams returning from, Joe Burrow being an upgrade at quarterback, Vonn Bell and DJ Reader joining the defense, and the Bengals snagging two of my favorite linebackers in the draft in Logan Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaither, it’s hard to not see this team as a threat.