Much has been made of how weak the AFC North was this year and it is all completely warranted. Only one team made it to the playoffs this season and that lone team, Cincinnati, had a very poor showing. The Bengals were a sexy pick to win the North as well as do some damage in the playoffs. Prognostications like those were made before the playoffs, during the season, and before play even began in August.
Let’s face it. When the AFC North is clicking and dominating it is either Baltimore or Pittsburgh that is doing the damage. The teams from Ohio are either pretenders or just plain awful. The AFC North has had a reputation of being a physical no-nonsense division. Yet again, that’s attributed to the Ravens and Steelers. The Browns have only been to the playoffs once since they were brought back in to the league for the 1999 season and the Bengals just can’t do it. So they get to the playoffs, so what? They never do anything.
When the AFC North is strong it is not because the Bengals and Browns are lighting things up. If the AFC North wants to turn it around then Baltimore and Pittsburgh will need to turn it around because that seems to be the only plausible solution.