2009 AFC North Preview

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Pittsburgh Steelers

Predicted Record: 13-3
Playoff Seed: 2

Key Player: Troy Polamalu, This has been a consistent answer for me for the past three seasons. If Polamalu goes down than the Steelers lose the heart of their defense. When he's flying high he's a game changing play waiting to happen.

Fantasy Player to Eye: Rashard Mendenhall, Part of me thinks that Mendenhall is about ready to steal all of Willie Parker's touchdowns out from under his nose.

Why the Record: The defending Super Bowl champs won the crown after a brutally difficult schedule. This season their schedule is unilaterally easier. Their division appears to be as bad

Baltimore Ravens

Predicted Record: 10-6
Playoff Seed: 6

Key Player: Greg Mattison, Sure he's not a player, but he has as big a role on the Ravens as anybody. As the new defensive coordinator Mattison will need to effectively sure up a stellar defense that has undergone significant changes in the offseason. With the loss of several members of the coaching staff along with several players to the Jets, Mattison has a mighty task and if he fails so too will the Ravens.

Fantasy Player to Eye: Ray Rice, last year Ray Rice started to pick up a little momentum midseason in stealing away carries and then he completely lost it. With one year under his belt he is worth a late round flier to see if he can steal away

Why the Record: Much like the Steelers the Ravens shall be the beneficiaries of a much easier schedule.

Cincinnati Bengals

Predicted Record: 8-8

Key Player: Carson Palmer, Palmer seemingly hasn't been fully healthy since he blew out his knee in the playoff game against Pittsburgh. When he isn't healthy the Bengals aren't good at all. Perhaps if he is healthy this season the offense could re-emerge as a constant threat. If not, Marvin Lewis should prep his resume.

Fantasy Player to Eye: Chris Henry, He may be a complete jackass, but even when Housh and OchoStinko were putting up huge numbers he was still getting a decent amount of touches. Now with Housh replaced by an old Laveraneus Coles, he should get ample opportunities to make plays.

Why the Record: They've given you no reason to think that their defense is going to be any better than it has been. In addition they're still relying on Cedric Benson at running back. 8-8 is actually pretty optimistic.

Cleveland Browns

Predicted Record: 4-12

Key Player: Eric Mangini, What the hell is wrong with him? Going into the final preseason game he still had no idea who was going to be the starting quarterback. How exactly does that unify your offense? Make up your mind.

Fantasy Player to Eye: Braylon Edwards, Edwards has turned himself into a massive risk reward proposition. In 2007 Edwards was a beast, he had 16 tds and 1289 yards. In 2008 Edwards sunk your fantasy team if you had him. He scored just three touchdowns and couldn't even crack 900 yards. So you ready to take the gamble?

Why the Record: The Browns seem to be falling down a slippery slope
with their constant Quarterback controversy. In addition Lewis seems to be near the end of his usability in the backfield and they got rid of Winslow with seemingly no replacement to make the offense dangerous again.

Posted by Simon at 1:11 PM   Digg! submit to reddit BallHype: hype it up!


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