Thursday, September 08, 2005

AFC North: Bengals

1. Cincinnati Bengals - Cincy has a threesome worthy of Indy's with QB Carson Palmer, WR Chad Johnson and RB Rudi Johnson and potentially as good as Dallas' in the early 90s. If their defense is average, it will be enough to bring the Bengals a 12 win season. First, they'll need to exorcise some demons by beating their division rivals consistently.

2. Baltimore Ravens - They're going to give up on QB Kyle Boller for the time being after they lose to either Cleveland or Chicago in weeks five and six. CB Deion Sanders will make one amazingly lame tackle attempt that will cost them a game. Coach Brian Billick is going to be on the hot seat if backup QB Anthony Wright can't right this ship. With LB Ray Lewis on defense this time will lose some winnable games because of its anemic offense.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers - QB Ben Roethlisberger will not take a step back, the rest of the league will catch up with him. The norm will be the quizzical look he had when the Jets roughed him up in the playoffs and the Patriots tormented him. Pitt was a perfect storm last year, but the RB's are a year older and the receiving corp could be a sore spot by season's end.

4. Cleveland Browns New coach Romeo Crennel will eventually succeed in Cleveland. After six years, the new Browns are still expansion worthy. Crennel will pour the mold this season before positive results excite the Dawg Pound. In the same vein, QB Trent Dilfer is a good caretaker for this offense until something more palatable comes along. The Browns have some weapons in RB Lee Suggs, WR's Antonio Bryant and rookie Braylon Edwards, it's just that their depth is frighteningly bare.

2004 LFR Genius Prediction: "QB Jeff Garcia will be a one-year experiment in Cleveland."

2004 LFR Dumb Prediction: "I don't know if [Steelers] RB Jerome Bettis can still perform to his former level."

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