Good Morning
Good Morning

NFL 2015: AFC North preview

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) looks for

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) looks for a receiver during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla., on Aug. 14, 2015. Credit: AP / Stephen B. Morton



Ninth season (82-46, .641)

LAST SEASON: 11-5, won division, lost to Baltimore in wild-card game

OUTLOOK: After a bounce-back year in 2014 that ended with a division title, the Steelers look even better on paper. Two-time Super Bowl winner Ben Roethlisberger is still in his prime, and Antonio Brown has emerged into one of the league's top receivers. Le'Veon Bell, who will sit out the first two games because of a substance abuse-related suspension, is already one of the league's premier runners. Defense is a bit of an issue in the secondary, but the front seven, which has gotten younger after a recent retooling, is more than adequate. The Steelers should be playing into January again.



Eighth season (72-40, .643)

LAST SEASON: 10-6, third in division, lost to New England in divisional playoff

OUTLOOK: Former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco is confident about his offense, even though there are plenty of questions at receiver because of the injury-related absences of rookie WR Breshad Perriman (knee). Baltimore's most reliable receiver is 36-year-old Steve Smith -- not a good way to go into the season. Justin Forsett is only so-so as a No. 1 running back. The pass rush looks strong with bookend speedsters Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, and the secondary looks solid.



13th season (100-90-2, .526)

LAST SEASON: 10-5-1, second in division, lost to Indianapolis in wild-card game

OUTLOOK: The biggest question about the Bengals won't be answered until January -- if then. The Bengals have yet to win a playoff game in the Marvin Lewis-Andy Dalton era. That's four straight one-and-dones for the coach-quarterback tandem. The Bengals do have a solid offense with wideout A.J. Green and reliable RB Jeremy Hill, and the defense is stout, especially Geno Atkins coming back just about all the way from 2013 knee surgery. Check back in January to see if there's any difference from the last four years.



Second season (7-9, .438)

LAST SEASON: 7-9, fourth in division

OUTLOOK: It's Josh McCown or bust for the Browns, who haven't been to the playoffs since 2002. The Browns signed the quarterback rather than keep Brian Hoyer or go with second-year passer Johnny Manziel, who was treated in the offseason for alcohol dependency. The Browns are painfully thin at the skill positions, and outside of cornerback Joe Haden, the defense is one gigantic question mark. Looks like more misery for this woebegone franchise.

New York Sports