Jan 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) talks to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) after their 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Heinz Field. The Ravens won 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Make no bones about it – the AFC North is one of, if not the best, conferences in the NFL. If anyone has any doubts about that statement, last season is definitive proof. The 11-5 Steelers won the division, and both AFC wildcard teams finished behind them – the 10-5-1 Bengals and 10-6 Ravens.
The Ravens came within four points of beating the eventual Super Bowl champions, the Patriots, after disposing of the Steelers in the wild card round. Meanwhile, the Bengals fell to the Colts for their 6th consecutive wild card playoff round exit (4th consecutive year).
Heck, even the last place Browns finished with a respectable 7-9 record in 2014, showing a good bit of promise behind new coach Mike Pettine and an improving defense. Which leads us to ask the question: are the Ravens still the favorites to win the division in 2015?
To figure that out, we must first take a look at what each team has done since the conclusion of last season. All four have experienced gains and losses in both the coaching and player ranks over the last few months, some good and some bad.
We’ll begin by taking a look at the Ravens’ biggest rivals – the Steelers.
Next: Pittsburgh Steelers
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