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AFC North Division Odds and Predictions

Talk about a division that’s up in the air as we inch toward September. The AFC North is completely up for grabs in 2019.

Everyone wants to count Pittsburgh out after trading away Antonio Brown for next to nothing, and many are already crowning Baker Mayfield and the Browns as the champs. But what about the Ravens now that Lamar Jackson has had a full offseason to improve his craft?

And should we completely count out the Bengals, even though they are seemingly starting over with a young and enthusiastic head coach leading the charge?

These are all fair questions, and ones that will all be answered in this guide. Consider this page your one-stop shop for betting on who will win the AFC North!

Latest AFC North Odds

Baltimore Ravens Have Clinched the DivisionOFF

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AFC North Predictions

  • Baltimore Ravens Have Clinched the Division
  • Last Updated: December 20th
Previous AFC North Predictions and Analysis

December 5th

  • Prediction (Michael Wynn): Baltimore Ravens

We all must give credit to John Harbaugh and the coaching staff in Baltimore for what they have accomplished thus far. The Ravens dominance in the AFC North hasn’t gone unnoticed, as they could wrap up this division as early as Sunday.

  • Prediction (Noah Davis): Baltimore Ravens

I didn’t see the Ravens coming at this level, but that doesn’t take anything away from what they’ve done. They have quite an impressive collection of NFL heads on their mantel and are running away with the AFC North. Sit back down, Pittsburgh.

November 21st

  • Prediction (Michael Wynn): Baltimore Ravens

The way Lamar Jackson has been playing – coupled with the inconsistencies from Cleveland and Pittsburgh – means the Ravens are going to coast to an AFC North title. Even if Baltimore slips up against the Rams and/or the 49ers, I still see them getting to at least 10 or 11 regular-season wins. That’ll be plenty to hoist the division.

  • Prediction (Noah Davis): Baltimore Ravens

Pittsburgh doesn’t have a quarterback, the Bengals are a horror show and the Browns are a classic case of “too little, too late”. Lamar Jackson is a serious NFL MVP threat and the Ravens are set up to coast to a division crown.

November 7th

  • Prediction (Michael Wynn): Baltimore Ravens

With Pittsburgh seemingly as the only legitimate threat to Baltimore in the AFC North, it looks like John Harbaugh is going to celebrate a division title for the second year in a row. Not only do the Ravens have the best coach in their division, but Lamar Jackson is by far the most dynamic player.

  • Prediction (Noah Davis): Baltimore Ravens

October 17th

  • Prediction (Michael Wynn): Baltimore Ravens

Consider the facts. Baltimore has a two-game lead and Pittsburgh is on their third QB. Cleveland can’t put two good weeks together, and the Bengals are yet to win a football game. By process of elimination, John Harbaugh and the Ravens should be in line to host a playoff game in January.

  • Prediction (Noah Davis): Cleveland Browns

This is probably the division that has given me the most trouble this year. I’m fully off of the Steelers, the Browns are dead to me and Cincinnati should just exit the NFL for good. I’m full-on with Team Ravens and I won’t be looking back.

October 3rd

  • Prediction (Michael Wynn): Baltimore Ravens

Despite losing at home to the Browns, I think the Ravens have enough time to get back on track. Lamar Jackson is the most dynamic player in this division, and John Harbaugh knows how to coach up a defense.

The Steelers showed some signs off life by dismantling the Bengals, but I need to see more out of Pittsburgh if I can get on board investing in them to win the AFC North.

  • Prediction (Noah Davis): Cleveland Browns

I don’t mean to be the guy that’s playing musical chairs in the AFC North, but let’s face it, every single team in this division has given you reason to doubt them. Lamar Jackson arguably got a little exposed over the last two weeks and Cleveland has responded well in the face of adversity. The Browns are feeling dangerous and I’m down for riding the wave.

September 19th

  • Prediction (Michael Wynn): Baltimore Ravens

After going with Baltimore at the outset, there’s no way I can back off now considering Lamar Jackson looks like one of the best QBs in the league. Cincinnati was always going to be a work in progress, and now Pittsburgh appears to be headed toward a full-on rebuild. With Cleveland as their main competition, John Harbaugh and his dynamic offense are in a very enviable spot.

  • Prediction (Noah Davis): Baltimore Ravens

I’m finally on board with Michael when it comes to Baltimore winning this division. It took the death of Ben Roethlisberger to make it happen, but Lamar Jackson seems pretty legit. If that holds true, the Ravens could win a lot more than this weak division.

September 5th

  • Prediction (Michael Wynn): Baltimore Ravens

I flip-flopped here simply based on my premonition that Lamar Jackson is in for a big year. I am fully aware of all of the roster turnover that ensued for the Ravens D, but it helps that Earl Thomas will be roaming around in the secondary.

  • Prediction (Noah Davis): Pittsburgh Steelers

The Browns get all of the hype and maybe even the Ravens deserve consideration, but the Steelers are still the most talented team in the AFC North. After distractions kept them out of the playoffs last year, Pittsburgh should be back in full force.

July 26th

  • Prediction (Michael Wynn): Pittsburgh Steelers

Believe it or not, allowing Le’Veon Bell to walk and trading away Antonio Brown are the two best things that could have happened to this football team. While the general public is all over Cleveland developing into a contender, I expect the Browns to endure plenty of growing pains along the way.

  • Prediction (Noah Davis): Pittsburgh Steelers

Let’s slow down the Browns hype train for a second. Cleveland will be better, but the Steelers are still the class of this division. Ben Roethlisberger heads an incredibly overlooked offense, while the Steelers got considerably better on the defensive side of the ball.

AFC North Related Content

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Early 2022 AFC North Analysis (Michael Wynn)

I’m intrigued to see how quickly Freddie Kitchens and Baker Mayfield can get on the same page because the Browns have big-time playmakers on both sides of the ball. The Steelers finally can move on without all the distractions, and Baltimore will continue transforming their offense to fit with the skillset of Lamar Jackson.

And speaking of transformation, replacing Marvin Lewis with Sean McVay’s top apprentice means we’ll see the Bengals implement a brand-new system. I’ll be watching how effective Zac Taylor’s scheme will be with Andy Dalton under center, and who knows? We may even see Ryan Finley get thrown into the fire.

Let’s examine the AFC North closer by looking at each team individually.

Cleveland Browns

Is it really possible to go from 0-16 to winning the division in the span of two years?

We’ll find out soon enough as the Browns have their eyes set on claiming the AFC North thanks to a myriad of changes since this time of last year.

Not only did John Dorsey finally pull the plug on Hue Jackson and hire a guy who the locker room seems to love in Freddie Kitchens, but he traded a first-round pick and Jabrill Peppers to land the diva of all divas.

Odell Beckham Jr. appears eager to get on the field with Baker Mayfield and begin this new chapter of his career, although OBJ is yet to display that he is willing to put the team’s goals ahead of his personal agenda. Baker can rely on Jarvis Landry on short routes, Nick Chubb proved he could handle the load in the backfield, and David Njoku is a big athletic body who will serve as a prime red-zone target.

Lining Greedy Williams up opposite of Pro-Bowler Denzel Ward gives Cleveland a chance to lock down opposing wide receivers, and let’s not forget that Olivier Vernon was included in the blockbuster deal with the Giants. Adding him to a defensive line that’s anchored by Myles Garrett means maybe we are wrong after all.

Perhaps the Browns really are the team to beat in the AFC North.

Pittsburgh Steelers  

The Steelers were a pass-happy team in 2018. Ben Roethlisberger led the league with 5,129 passing yards, also leading the league in pass attempts (675) and completions (452).

Unfortunately, he also topped the charts with 16 interceptions, and now his longtime #1 target Antonio Brown is out of the picture. The prima donna demanded he be traded and is now in Oakland, but could this actually be a positive for the city of Pittsburgh?

We already have seen JuJu Smith-Schuster demonstrate he is one of the most skilled wideouts in football, Donte Moncrief was added in free agency, and Kevin Colbert seems amped up about the potential of rookie Diontae Johnson.

I already advertised James Washington as a potential second-year breakout candidate in the NFL, so there’s no reason to think this passing attack suddenly disappears just because AB is no longer here.

The defense won’t liken to the “Steel Curtain” from the 1970s, but drafting Devin Bush and Justin Layne at least gives Steeler Nation some hope. Pittsburgh should be better at creating turnovers and getting key stops on third down, which, in turn, puts the ball back in Ben Roethlisberger’s hands.

Coming off the disappointment from watching the AFC North slip away in 2018, look for Mike Tomlin to approach 2019 with vengeance on his mind.

Baltimore Ravens  

John Harbaugh has no choice but to start adapting this offense toward one that aligns with the things that Lamar Jackson does well. That means throwing the three and five-step drop backs out the window and start allowing Jackson to move around in the pocket.

Lamar’s best asset is his ability to make people miss in open space, so don’t be surprised if Greg Roman utilizes variations of the option throughout the year. With Willie Snead as the only dependable wideout on the team, Eric DeCosta’s first order of business after being promoted to general manager was to draft an electric speedster.

Between Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Miles Boykin, it’s safe to say he accomplished his goal.

Typically, the defense is stout in Baltimore, just as they were in 2018. However, the main concern I see in Charm City is how Coach Harbaugh plans on replenishing his linebacking core. Seriously, it would be one thing if Terrell Suggs inking a deal with Arizona was the only loss, but check this out.

C.J. Mosley signed a five-year/$85 million contract with the Jets, and Za’Darius Smith agreed to a four-year/$66 million deal with the Raiders. Heck, the Ravens even had to watch Eric Weddle walk out the door and become a member of the Los Angeles Rams, and one can argue that Weddle was Baltimore’s most consistent defender.

Earl Thomas and Mark Ingram should make a difference, but pegging the Ravens a playoff team in 2019 might be wishful thinking.

Cincinnati Bengals

Zac Taylor might only be 36 years old, and he might not have any prior head coaching experience in the National Football League. If you think that means the fan base in Cincy is going to be patient and accept a dreadful season, it’s time to think again.

The Bengals will certainly have their work cut out for them if they want to factor into the AFC North race, but there is enough talent in place to at least make things interesting. Joe Mixon showed he is a viable three-down back, and A.J. Green is completely healed after undergoing toe surgery in December.

But now for some bad news.

Cincinnati took a big hit in late June when they discovered why Jonah Williams was experiencing so much pain in his left shoulder. Regrettably, the rookie tackle from the University of Alabama will miss the entire 2019 season after discovering the pain in his left shoulder was due to having a torn labrum.

John Miller arriving from Buffalo will help curb the loss, but how well or how badly the offense performs might not even matter anyway.

The Bengals defense was historically bad in 2018, allowing a league-high 413.6 yards per game. Cincy also was the worst in the NFL when it came to stopping opponents on third down, yet three of the Bengals’ first four picks were spent on offensive players.

As appetizing as the +1500 price tag is on Cincinnati winning the division, go ahead and save your money for other wagers that have a better chance of paying off.

Initial AFC North Pick

Backing the Browns to scoop the AFC North at +120 is enticing, but it’s not where the value lies. Latching onto the Steelers at +195 seems like the play, and here’s why.

Pittsburgh runs a unique scheme that won’t really change based on the personnel. In fact, leaning on the trio of James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, and Benny Snell Jr. means they might not even notice Le’Veon is no longer in the backfield.

The Bengals defense would have to make remarkable strides if they want to finish the year above .500, and the Ravens D is also searching for guys to step up and grab the reins. Between betting on the Browns or the Steelers, neither would be a “bad pick.”

However, the odds are much more favorable for the team wearing black and yellow.

Pick
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
    +195

Previous AFC North Winners

The AFC North originated in 2002 when the NFL rearranged the divisions on the heels of adding a 32nd franchise (Houston Texans) to the league. You’ll see below that while three of the four AFC North teams know what a divisional crown feels like, the Browns are yet to experience the glory.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers 8
  • Baltimore Ravens 5
  • Cincinnati Bengals 4
  • Cleveland Browns 0

Shifting your attention to the last ten years specifically, you can see how evenly split the AFC North has been.

  • 2018: Baltimore Ravens 10-6
  • 2017: Pittsburgh Steelers 13-3
  • 2016: Pittsburgh Steelers 11-5
  • 2015: Cincinnati Bengals 12-4
  • 2014: Pittsburgh Steelers 11-5
  • 2013: Cincinnati Bengals 11-5
  • 2012: Baltimore Ravens 10-6
  • 2011: Baltimore Ravens 12-4
  • 2010: Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4
  • 2009: Cincinnati Bengals 10-6

Many think that 2019 is finally the year that the Dawg Pound will be celebrating. Baker Mayfield’s outward confidence will rub off onto his teammates, and Freddie Kitchens isn’t going to accept anything less than maximum effort.

If one thing is certain, it’s that the bookies at all of the top NFL betting sites are clearly on board with this idea.

In terms of how teams in this division have fared in the biggest game of them all over the last 20 years, the Steelers and Ravens each have a pair of Super Bowl titles. Quite the opposite if you look at the Browns, as Cleveland has appeared in the postseason just once in the last 25 years (2002).

If you are wondering when the Bengals last won the AFC Championship game, you have to go all the way back to 1988.

Given all the roster and coaching changes that took place during the offseason, anything can happen in 2019. It’s less likely that Cincinnati or Baltimore challenges for the division title, but the game is played on the gridiron, not on a piece of paper.

The moral of the AFC North division? Don’t judge a book by its cover.

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