AFC North 2020 Preview
The Baltimore Ravens were the most fun team to watch in 2019 and I think they'll be even more entertaining in 2020. I trust Jon Harbaugh, which is why I think this team will adapt. This is one of the teams who I trust to find a way to get the most out of their players despite COVID-19. Offensively, the Ravens didn't really lose any key pieces other than Marshall Yanda. They actually got better, two rookies who I think will have a big impact on that offense are JK Dobbins and Devin Duvernay. Dobbins was my RB1 in the pre-draft process and I had a second round grade on Duvernay. Dobbins will be able to not only compliment from Mark Ingram, but he'll be able to learn from him. Ingram isn't one of those selfish vets who won't help a rookie, we saw what he did with Alvin Kamara. Duvernay on the other hand reminds me of a faster Tyler Lockett. He will be the ultimate downfield threat, he can track the ball better than any receiver in this draft class and he has amazing body control. Marquise Brown will be one of the best breakout players in all of the NFL this year. He is one of those players who looks like he's on a mission. Defensively, Patrick Queen is an absolute BALLER. He's my pick to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. Queen has incredible instincts and is going to take over that CJ Mosley role. Not to mention, the Ravens have the best corner back room in the NFL. The Ravens are my pick to win the AFC this year and their defense will be the difference maker in the playoffs.
The Bengals are a team that is about two years away. Joe Burrow is an absolute stud and he landed in the perfect situation and his offense is going to be dynamic. Cincinnati actually has a ton of weapons on the offense and I think this will be the year that John Ross solidifies himself as a really good receiver who plays 16 game. I expect Tee Higgins to get better every game this year, but I think he'll have a slow start. I'm actually really excited for Joe Burrow and I think he's going to be in a ton of shootouts. I don't think this defense will be able to hang. They're in such a tough division, but I think they'll be that sneaky team in the AFC who gets some upset wins. Cincinnati has 5 true play making receivers and has two really good running backs. Rodney Anderson is also a sneaky good player who I'm looking forward to seeing. Cincinnati has a really good secondary, but they're missing that leadership presence. I think this will be a team that both scores a lot of points and gives up a lot of points. They're going to be fun to watch; I wouldn't be surprised if they had a top ten offense, but they're division is too tough to have a winning record.
The Steelers are going to be a team that surprises a lot of people this year. The fact that they went 8-8 last season with Duck Hodges and Mason Rudolph gives me a lot of confidence that they're going to be good in 2020. The first thing I need to talk about the Steelers is they're defense. They're defense is really really good, and I'm putting an emphasis on really. They're one of the few teams who has a leader on all three levels of their defense: defensive line, linebacker, and secondary. 9 of their defensive starters have potential to be pro bowlers this year. TJ Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Devin Bush are three guys who can be in the conversation for defensive player of the year conversation. All three are guys who just really play their position how it's meant to be played. They just all know how to get after it. Offensively, it's all about the return of Big Ben. If they had Big Ben last season, this team would've been in the playoffs and playoffs have to be the expectations for them this year. I think they have three a really strong big three at receiver. Diontae Johnson is one of those sneaky good players and JuJu is the big name player. Chase Claypool is the guy who I'm really excited about. He was one of my favorite players in the entire draft last year, and his versatility needs to be utilized in the Steelers offense this year. Claypool is going to be a breakout stud for this offense. I think he'll be a big reason why this team is going to be in the playoffs next year.
I'm super excited to watch the Browns this year. Freddie Kitchens was a bottom 3 coach in the NFL last season, so now that they have someone who the players will like and understand analytics I'm excited. Cleveland has a top 5 most talented roster in the NFL, and Baker should have a massive season this year. The Browns got my number one tackle in the draft this year and had my number one sleeper free agent move with Austin Hooper. Andrew Berry has done an awesome job this offseason and I'm looking forward to seeing what Kevin Stefanski's offense looks like in 2020. I think Odell Beckham Jr. is going to return to form and have a career season this year. I expect Nick Chubb to be in the conversation for best running back in the NFL after the year is over. The Browns should be utilizing a lot more heavier personnel sets that allows them to use Kareem Hunt, Nick Chubb, David Njoku, and Austin Hooper. This team is going to be ridiculously explosive. Looking at the defense, this is going to be Myles Garrett's team. Garrett is my pick for comeback player of the year and will be a candidate for defensive player of the year. Their secondary looks really good on paper, but I'm worried about their linebacker core. That would be the one big hole on their defense which is going to be a problem when going against Lamar Jackson twice a year. This is a no excuses year for Cleveland, they need to be in the playoffs.