The Baltimore Ravens are primed for a comeback season like no other in 2022, but the team can’t underestimate the gauntlet that is the AFC North.
This offseason, the Ravens got better, but so did the rest of the AFC North: the Cincinnati Bengals retooled their offensive line, the Cleveland Browns traded for Deshaun Watson, and the Pittsburgh Steelers picked up key roster pieces who could keep the team competitive.
Most would consider the Ravens to be perennial playoff contenders, but the rise of the Bengals and the Browns makes the AFC North especially cutthroat, and as in any other division, no team is guaranteed a playoff spot.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora recently released his 2022 divisional power rankings and had the AFC North at second overall:
"“We all know that the balance of power in this league has swung to this conference in a big way. It’s reflected in these rankings and projections. Baltimore and Pittsburgh are annual playoff contenders.The Bengals are looking like a model franchise with all of their young talent still on the cheap and the Browns will probably still Brown it up, but have the makings of a better defense.”"
The Ravens are playing in one of the toughest divisions in the league
All four AFC North teams have a legitimate shot at making the postseason, and all in all La Canfora’s arguments here make a lot of sense.
Obviously, no one in the division can beat the AFC West. The Chiefs, Chargers, Broncos, and Raiders each carry an incredible quarterback and a star-studded lineup, and their division as a whole easily tops the league.
The AFC North, however, sneakily creeps by as an elite division in its own right, packed with high-octane matchups between elite quarterbacks and solid defenses.
The Ravens boast an incredibly talented secondary unit going into 2022, having acquired the likes of Kyle Hamilton and Marcus Williams, but the offense still needs some fine-tuning with a rehabbing Lamar Jackson and a thin wide receiver corps.
What do you think? Is the AFC North the second-best division in the NFL?