What they might be thinking: AFC North

This piece kicks off a series where I’ll tell you what I think each team in the league is thinking right now. To keep it organized, we’ll be breaking the NFL down by division.

Baltimore Ravens


We’re aging on defense, and we need more production out of Joe Flacco on a consistent basis. He had us in the Super Bowl last season, but a receiver who will remain nameless dropped the ball, and a kicker who will also remain nameless shanked the tying field goal. The receiver is gone, and our team is looking good, as usual. We can’t help but feel like our window may be closing, so this could be our best chance to win a Super Bowl before retooling the team.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Everyone says we’re on the decline, but we’ve been through this before, and we always come out looking good. Todd Haley is a bit of a wild card for us, and we’re hoping he can work well with Ben Roethlisberger in building our offense. Our defense, although aging, should still be a dominant unit. Our biggest concern is Isaac Redman. Hopefully he can pick up the slack left by Rashard Mendenhall and give us solid performances until Mendenhall is back. People don’t think we’ll win the division, and that’s just fine.

Cincinnati Bengals

We’re young, we’re talented, and we sense blood in the water. The Ravens and the Steelers are showing signs of advanced age, especially on defense, and we think we have the talent to make a run at the division title. Last season, we shocked everyone by pulling out a wild card slot with a rookie quarterback and a great defense. We won’t be able to sneak up on anyone this year, but we don’t believe we need the element of surprise. We believe we may be the best team in the division, but we’ll let our on-field performance prove it.

Cleveland Browns

We are in a bad position. We know that we don’t want Colt McCoy anymore, but we just don’t have the heart to set him free. Yes, Trent Richardson should give us a solid ground attack, but our division may be the toughest in the NFL. We’ll do our best to find some wins this season, but we’re focused on the future. We’ll be using 2012 to develop rookie quarterback Andrew Weeden and Richardson. 2012 is our time to grow. We’re worried about our long-term future in 2012, and hopefully we’ll get a few feel good wins to keep our morale up in the meantime.

About Shane Clemons

Shane Clemons came from humble beginnings creating his own Jaguars blog before moving on to SBNation as a featured writer for the Jaguars. He then moved to Bloguin where he briefly covered the AFC South before taking over Bloguin's Jaguars blog. Since the inception of This Given Sunday, Shane has served as an editor for the site, doing his best not to mess up a good thing.