2020 NFL Preview: AFC North

Written By: SimpleSlates

June 8, 2020


The AFC North division has been a great battle between the Steelers and the Ravens for as long as most can remember. Lost in the shuffle are the Bengals and Browns most seasons. This season however, we have some hope for one of the most competitive divisions in football.

The Browns and Bengals both are young teams with plenty of hype for the future, and the Steelers, despite being in rebuilding mode, always find a way to compete. We expect the “Nasty North” to be extra nasty this season. Let’s take a look at how we see the division playing out.



With one of the most impressive showings last year, and a team that is young, hungry, and only expected to get better, there is little doubt in our minds that the Raven’s own this division. Winning games on the ground and with solid defense is the way this team operates, and that is a recipe for success. 

Lamar Jackson had a historic season with the Ravens last year, and with another year under his belt, the sky’s the limit. He will have a healthy Hollywood Brown this season, and they added possibly the best runningback prospect they have had in years behind Ingram with J.K. Dobbins from Ohio St. 

On the defensive side of the ball they used their top draft pick on Patrick Queen from LSU, and selected Malik Harrison in a later round from Ohio St. These two picks will help round out a very young and very athletic group of linebackers. They also added a ton of depth and talent on the defensive line.

Bottom line, the Ravens should run away with this division.



The Steelers have remained one of the most consistent dynasties in the NFL. It says quite a bit about a team when their roster is at what many would call its worst in the last ten years, but they still manage to be in the playoff hunt. That’s the level of consistency the Steelers have proven to possess.

The draft for the Steelers was lackluster on paper, but we wouldn’t be shocked if there was a diamond in the rough there somewhere. The free agency moves for the organization were essentially a wash as well. They added a few key pieces, but also lost a few too.

We expect this team to finish second in the division strictly based on consistency. They won’t be flashy, or exciting to watch most of the time, but they will get the job done. That’s the Pittsburgh way.



The Bengals have started a new chapter in their story with the addition of Joe Burrow. Adding Burrow into an already talented offense is a recipe for success. That being said, the defense was the worst in the league last year. So despite having made some progress, we still believe they are a season or two away from really being a force in the division.

The offense is going to be Burrow, Mixon, and A.J. Green. They did add an additional weapon in the draft with Tee Higgins from Clemson university and still have the deep threat that John Ross provides. The weapons are there for an explosive offense. What remains to be seen is if the offensive line can keep Burrow standing.

The rest of the Bengals’ draft was focused on defense, which as stated, was last in the league for 2019. If this defense can manage to show up in a meaningful way they might be able to push for the second spot and compete for a wildcard playoff berth, but sadly, it is probably unlikely.



The Browns have turned into the disappointment of the AFC North. On paper, this team is extremely solid. In a Madden league, this is the team you want. In reality, they seem to find new ways to let their fans down and not play up to their talent levels each week.

Cleveland did have a fairly solid draft and managed to add weapons on both sides of the ball. What they do with that talent is the mystery that no one can accurately predict, as they have had great drafts for a few seasons now, and never seem to be able to gain enough momentum to do anything with the talent they have.

In free agency they lost a bit of talent on the defensive side of the ball, and didn’t really gain much back in the way of signings. None of that is really game changing for them. Our expectations are much of the same disappointment this franchise has grown accustomed to producing.



What do you think is going to happen in the AFC North for the 2020 season? Let us know in the comments below. Do you agree with or dislike our assessment of your team in this division? Again, let us know. 

As always, make sure to follow on Twitter @SimpleSlates and like us on FaceBook @SimpleSlates for more sports posts and DFS content! 

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