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2014 AFC North Predictions – Odds To Win Super Bowl XLIX

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The Steelers are poised to get back to a long tradition of winning seasons.

Ever since the NFL realigned its divisions in 2002, the Bengals have won three AFC North titles, the Steelers come into the new season with five division crowns and the third-favorite Ravens have claimed the division title four times.

Cincinnati is the reigning champ, but it is going to have its hands full trying to repeat.

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Bengals Odds to Win 2015 Super Bowl XLIX +3000
  • Bengals Odds to Win the 2015 AFC Conference +550
  • Bengals Odds to Win the 2014 AFC North +180
  • Bengals Odds from BetOnline

The Bengals are slight favorites to repeat as champs, but it is going to need everything to fall in place to stay on top this season. Last year they went a perfect 8-0 at home, which is no easy feat to repeat.

The concern has to be just a 3-3 record in the division as part of an overall record of 11-5.

One area where Cincinnati was very good last season was on defense.

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It ended the regular season ranked third in the NFL in yards allowed and the addition of cornerback Darqueze Dennard and defensive end Will Clarke in the first three rounds of the draft should only help the cause in 2014.

The big question is can fourth-year quarterback Andy Dalton improve upon some of the inconsistency that has plagued him at times in his first three seasons in the NFL?

AFC North Prediction: 1st

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Steelers Odds to Win 2015 Super Bowl XLIX +4000
  • Steelers Odds to Win the 2015 AFC Conference +1400
  • Steelers Odds to Win the 2014 AFC North +200
  • Steelers Odds from BetOnline

You would have to go all the way back to 1988 to find the last time a Steelers’ team finished without at least nine wins in three or more seasons in a row.

Coming off back-to-back 8-8 seasons, head coach Mike Tomlin is undoubtedly turning up the pressure on his team to get back to its winning ways.

Pittsburgh still has Ben Roethlisberger as it starting quarterback, which always gives you a chance to win a game.

Free agents LeGarrette Blount at running back and Darrius Heyward-Bey at wide receivers are welcomed additions to that side of the ball and the Steelers 13th-ranked defense from a year ago should be better with Tomlin using five of his first eight draft picks on this side of the ball.

AFC North Prediction: 2nd
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Baltimore Ravens

  • Ravens Odds to Win 2015 Super Bowl XLIX +3500
  • Ravens Odds to Win the 2015 AFC Conference +2000
  • Ravens Odds to Win the 2014 AFC North +260
  • Ravens Odds from BetOnline

In what has become a familiar pattern in the NFL over the years, the Ravens followed-up a run to a Super Bowl title with a very average 8-8 record in 2013.

Add in a multitude of off-field distractions with a number of key players and it would be easy to see this team make a further slide backwards in 2014.

Joe Flacco failed to live up to his huge contract after leading the team to a victory in Super Bowl XLVII and the departure of key veterans on defense such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, dropped this once proud unit to 12th in the NFL in last season in both yards and points allowed.

There are also a couple gaping holes to fill on defense heading into this season after enduring a few key losses to free agency, so right now there are more questions than answers in my book for this team.

AFC North Prediction: 3rd

Cleveland Browns

  • Browns Odds to Win 2015 Super Bowl XLIX +7500
  • Browns Odds to Win the 2015 AFC Conference +3300
  • Browns Odds to Win the 2014 AFC North +650
  • Browns Odds from BetOnline

The big news in Cleveland was the addition of quarterback Johnny “Football” Manziel with the 22nd overall pick in the draft, but it is going to take much more than that to turn around a franchise that has just two winning seasons since 1995 and five or fewer wins in the last six years. Change has been constant for the Browns during this dismal stretch, but obviously not in a good way.

They decided to bring in Mike Pettine as the team’s new head coach after serving as the defensive coordinator for both Buffalo and the New Jets, but this salvage job would be a tall task for any coach in this league.

Along with Manziel, Cleveland drafted cornerback Justin Gilbert with the eighth pick of the first round and while the Browns are adding some solid pieces here and there, it will take longer than this season for things to come together in the form of wins.

AFC North Prediction: 4th


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About Dave Schwab

David Schwab is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. While not cheering for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles David can be found working on his blog at www.eaglesinc.com. David wants to hear from you so please comment below.