2015 AFC North Midseason Update


The AFC North has arguably been the NFL's best division the last few seasons.

The division has produced multiple playoff teams in six out of last seven years, and the AFC's Super Bowl representative has come from the North in three of those seasons.

What is the division up to so far in 2015?

Cincinnati is currently the class of the North through the midway point of the season, boasting a perfect 8-0 record. The Steelers have their eye on a wild-card spot and the Ravens aren't counting themselves out of the race either.

Here's an overview of the division after the first nine weeks of the year:

Division Standings

Cincinnati Bengals (8-0)
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4)
Baltimore Ravens (2-6)
Cleveland Browns (2-7)

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are running away with the division crown, which would give them their second AFC North title in the last three years. Cincinnati is one of just three teams in the NFL still without a loss, and quarterback Andy Dalton has even generated some MVP conversation with his start to the season. Dalton has thrown 18 touchdowns and just four interceptions, and his passer rating of 111.0 is second only to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The Bengals are in line to make the playoffs for the sixth time in the last seven years, and they are trying to keep pace with the Patriots (8-0) for the best record in the AFC. With the Bengals holding tight to a 3.5-game advantage in the division, the biggest question for Cincinnati seems to be whether Dalton can continue his success into the postseason, where he has yet to win a game in his five-year career.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The injury bug has taken a serious bite out of Pittsburgh this year. The Steelers lost Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey to a broken ankle in training camp, and the injuries have just continued to pile up from there. Running back Le'Veon Bell played just six games before suffering a season-ending knee injury, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed four games with a knee injury. Now Roethlisberger has a foot injury that is expected to sideline him "a few weeks." The Steelers are still in the thick of the wild-card race despite the injuries, but they will once again have to sustain the loss of Roethlisberger to keep themselves in the mix.

Cleveland Browns

This season has taken on a familiar tone for the Browns. They came into the year with some renewed optimism, but they now find themselves at the bottom of the division with lingering questions about the quarterback position. Veteran Josh McCown has played remarkably well for the Browns, but second-year signal caller Johnny Manziel has also shown flashes of promise in relief duty when McCown has been injured. With Cleveland now sitting at last place in the division, some in Cleveland want to play young players like Manziel to see if they can be cornerstones of the future. Head Coach Mike Pettine and General Manager Ray Farmer may also be on the hot seat as the Browns try to avoid their ninth-straight losing season.

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