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Could the Bengals actually end up being the best team in the AFC North?

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If the Browns are the worst team in the AFC North, then who is the best?

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Who are the best and worst teams in the AFC North?

Entering the season, I optimistically believed that the Cincinnati Bengals would be the worst team in the AFC North, the Pittsburgh Steelers would be atop the division, and then the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens would compete for mediocrity.

After a couple of games, things quickly soured on the Browns, but the Bengals appeared to fall right in line as the worst team in the division. One firing of their offensive coordinator later, and things drastically changed.

In Week 3, the Bengals established an early lead over the Green Bay Packers on the road before falling late, 27-24. In Week 4, they came to Cleveland and destroyed the Browns 21-7. In Week 5, they hosted the Buffalo Bills and emerged with a hard-fought 20-16 victory to improve to 2-3 on the season.

Who is the Worst Team in the AFC North? There is no doubt it’s the Browns again. I don’t have to say anything more other than the fact that they are 0-5 and continue to have shuffling at the quarterback position.

Who is the Best Team in the AFC North? This is where it gets tricky. The Steelers opened the season against Cleveland, but Ben Roethlisberger and the offense were pretty bad despite coming away with the win. I chalked it up to rust. In Week 3, they lost to the Chicago Bears, which is the only game they’ve won this season. Last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Roethlisberger threw five interceptions in a 30-9 rout, and after the game he questioned whether he still had it.

The Ravens are 3-2, but their three wins came against the Bengals in Week 1 when they were struggling big time, a mess-of-a-Browns team in Week 2, and then a Raiders team that was forced to start E.J. Manuel last week. In between, they were smoked by the Jaguars and Steelers. I don’t believe they’re the best team in the division, but their next four opponents include Chicago, Minnesota, Miami, and Tennessee, all of whom are having quarterback issues right now.

That leads me back to the Bengals. Despite having a porous offensive line and losing TE Tyler Eifert for the season, they’ve adjusted and found a way to make Andy Dalton comfortable again. They are wisely force-feeding the ball to WR A.J. Green, who has 22 catches for 363 yards and 3 touchdowns in his past three games. On defense, with Vontaze Burfict back and Geno Atkins playing at a high level, they seem to have one of the better defenses in the NFL.

Side note: when you look at total yards, you wouldn’t think the Browns are winless and the worst team in the AFC North:

  • Baltimore: Offense (28th), Defense (16th)
  • Cincinnati: Offense (23rd), Defense (2nd)
  • Cleveland: Offense (21st), Defense (5th)
  • Pittsburgh: Offense (17th), Defense (4th)

Poll

Taking the Browns out of the equation, who do you think is the best team in the AFC North right now?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Baltimore Ravens
    (47 votes)
  • 69%
    Cincinnati Bengals
    (521 votes)
  • 24%
    Pittsburgh Steelers
    (182 votes)
750 votes total Vote Now