We’re still more than two months away from the start of battles on the NFL gridiron, but there’s no offseason when it comes to debate amongst fans. Earlier this summer, we launched a new series here at PFR that will be known as the Community Tailgate. What’s the Community Tailgate all about? Well, it’s pretty simple. Every weekday, we’ll highlight one of the top stories going on in the NFL. Then, in the comment section below, we want you to weigh in and let us know what you think.
Of course, while the debate may get spirited, we ask that it all stays respectful. If you need a reminder of our rules, please check out our commenting policy. Basically, we ask that you refrain from inappropriate language, personal insults, and attacks. Speaking of commenting: we’ve made it much easier to leave a comment here at Pro Football Rumors. You are no longer required to be a registered user – simply put in your name, email address, and comment and submit.
In yesterday’s Community Tailgate, we asked you to weigh in on who you think will win the NFC East. Today, we’ll be looking at the AFC North. In 2014, the Steelers came away with the AFC North crown thanks in large part to one of the league’s very best offenses. Antonio Brown was posted career highs in receptions (129) and receiving yards (1,698) while running back Le’Veon Bell enjoyed a breakout season in the backfield. However, it’s fair to question whether Big Ben & Co. will be able to move the chains with ease once again in 2015. Bell will serve a three-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy to start the year and while DeAngelo Williams is a solid Plan B, he’s certainly not the dominating back that Bell is. On defense, the Steelers are without defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and we’ll now see what his former understudy Keith Butler can do as DC. We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention the Steelers’ brutal schedule for 2015.
This offseason, the Ravens lost deep threat Torrey Smith to the 49ers, but they’re hoping that UCF’s Breshad Perriman can replace his production. They did, however, retain tailback Justin Forsett after his breakout season, and that was a major question mark for them heading into the offseason. On the opposite side of the ball, the Ravens locked up Jimmy Smith long-term while adding Kyle Arrington, who was cut loose by the Patriots. One mainstay who is gone, however, is nose tackle Haloti Ngata, who now has the unenviable task of replacing Ndamukong Suh in Detroit.
After finishing 10-5-1 last season, it’s fair to wonder whether the Bengals did enough this offseason to take a step forward. Yes, having former Ohio State star A.J. Hawk come home is a feel-good move and Michael Johnson could get back on track with his old team in 2015, but the offseason was largely uneventful for Cincy. One positive is that the Bengals used their first two picks (Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher) to bolster the offensive line, something they absolutely needed.
All last year, Browns fans wondered whether it would be Johnny Manziel or Brian Hoyer as the main guy under center in 2015. Turns out, the answer is probably neither. Hoyer wound up signing with the Texans in free agency while the Browns brought in battle-tested veteran Josh McCown after his forgettable stint in Tampa Bay. The Browns brought in one notable wide receiver in Dwayne Bowe but their own star – Josh Gordon – has been banned for the 2015 season. Cleveland lost Buster Skrine to the Jets in March but free agent pickup Tramon Williams could be an adequate replacement with Randy Starks beefing up the defensive line.
Who will win the AFC North crown in 2015? Let us know in the comment section below!