The AFC North has produced to of the past five Super Bowl winners, and at least two playoff teams in each of those last five years. There isn’t another division that can compete with those numbers, and that is why the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravnes won’t be able to take anything for granted heading in to this season. The Ravens are listed at +2,000 to win the Super Bowl, and the biggest part of the problem could be getting out of their own division.
2013 Super Bowl Odds:
Ravens +2,000 Baltimore
The Ravens cleaned house following their Super Bowl win by saying goodbye to Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Dannell Elerbe, and Anquan Boldin among others.
locked up Joe Flacco with one of the richest contracts in NFL history, and he
will need to step up as the new face of the franchise. Elvis Dumervil and
Michael Huff were brought in on the defensive side of the ball to fill the
voids left by Ellerbe and Reed, while the line received upgrades with Chris
Canty and Marcus Spears. However, it will now be Flacco and an offense that
features Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, and Jacoby Jones to lead the way, and the
Ravens could have a tough time getting out of the AFC North. Baltimore
The Bengals are intent on being the team that knocks
off and wins the division, which is the next step after reaching the playoffs
in back-to-back years for the first time in franchise history. The offense took
a major step forward last season with quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver
AJ Green leading the way, and should be even better with the addition of the
top-ranked tight end from the 2013 NFL Draft in Tyler Eifert and running back
Giovani Bernard. Cincinnati didn’t stand pat on the defensive side of the ball
either despite putting up solid numbers, as they brought in James Harrison to
continue his reign of terror in the AFC North only with a new look. Baltimore
The Browns are hoping that coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner can take quarterback Brandon Weeden and the offense to the next level, and both coaches have reiterated their belief in the talent that is there. Cleveland brought in Davone Bess to solidify a receiving core that it feels will be very good with Josh Gordon and Travis Benjamin both set to take another step forward, and running back Trent Richardson showed flashes of dominance in his rookie season. The Browns also upgraded on defense with first-round pick linebacker Barkevious Mingo and third-round pick cornerback Leon McFadden, so they may be closer to contention than some people think.
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