2015 NFL predictions

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AFC North

Terrell Suggs is a phenomenal player…but can he be the leader that Ray Lewis was? He’s got a great situation to try and prove it in. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens (13-3; 1st Place AFC North)

Story of the season – The Ravens come out and put up a big season.  But a lot of it will be smoke and mirrors.  This is due in large part to what appears to be a fairly soft schedule and a down year for the AFC North.  This isn’t as much a reflection of the Raven’s ability as it is the hand they have been dealt this year.  They still have a lot of talent and are a strong group, but it’s not the same team it once was.

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7; 2nd Place AFC North)

Story of the season – Injuries and suspensions take their toll and eventually prevent the Steelers from making the playoffs.  Pittsburgh will be in the race right up until the end, but ultimately fall short on what was a very promising season just a few weeks ago.  This should have been their division.

Cincinnati Bengals (6-10; 3rd Place AFC North)

Story of the season – The Bengals face a pretty brutal early schedule this year and it ends up costing Marvin Lewis his job mid-season.  Don’t be so surprised.  The Bengals under Lewis have been a mix of mediocre and disappointing, and a terrible start to the season is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.  Quarterback Andy Dalton may get one more season with the new leadership, but it doesn’t last.

Cleveland Browns (3-13; 4th Place AFC North)

Story of the season – The Browns start off with two quick wins to get people talking, and then remember that they are the Browns and play out the rest of the season accordingly.  While the focus of this team has been on fixing the quarterback, the rest of the offense has gone backwards.  This team is going to have a very hard time finding the endzone.