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Around the AFC North: Biggest Question Marks for Division Rivals


Pittsburgh Steelers: How Does the Offense Cope With Losses?

The Steelers have enjoyed a drama-free offseason with wide receiver Antonio Brown in Oakland and running back Le'Veon Bell in New York. But the question now is how much they'll miss having them on the field. The Steelers will lean on JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner to be Ben Roethlisberger's top playmakers.

"The next step is discovering whether receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner can turn Pro Bowl seasons into Year 3 greatness," ESPN's Jeremy Fowler wrote. "The Steelers are confident the production will be there."

The Steelers already experienced life without Bell last year. Wide receiver is the bigger question. Their first depth chart says veteran free-agent addition Donte Moncrief has the No. 2 wide receiver job. Second-year wideout James Washington has also been impressive this offseason and could have a large role.

Cleveland Browns: Can the Offensive Line Protect the Hype?

No team has generated more hype this offseason than the Browns, who made the biggest splash in free agency by trading for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. They also signed defensive linemen Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson, as well as running back Kareem Hunt. Match that with Baker Mayfield's star power and a young, talented group of returning skill players, and the Browns look great on paper.

But how will all those additions jell together on the field, and big personalities work together off it? How will the Browns respond to the massively increased expectations, particularly if they stub their toe?

Another big question is how strong the Browns are in the non-glamour positions. Their offensive line, for example, got thinner with the trade of Kevin Zeitler for Vernon and starting left tackle Greg Robinson was cut then re-signed over the weekend.

"The biggest concern for the Browns right now: What happens when you take a talent-deficient, unproven offensive line and task it with protecting a swashbuckling young quarterback who hangs in the pocket, keeps his eyes up and always looks for the big play? Yep, there's potential for disaster," wrote’s Dan Hanzus.

Cincinnati Bengals: How much will change and how soon?

The only big change in Cincinnati is the arrival of 36-year-old head coach Zac Taylor, who has replaced Marvin Lewis. Taylor was part of the Los Angeles Rams' offensive wizardry the past couple seasons. Now the question is how much will change and how fast.

The Bengals still have Andy Dalton under center, Joe Mixon as their lead runner and A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd as their top receivers. Their defense is relatively unchanged as well.

"After five consecutive playoff appearances at the beginning of the decade, the Bengals have failed to finish .500 or better the past three seasons," ESPN’s Ben Baby wrote. "This year will show if the franchise has the necessary pieces to be competitive in the immediate future or if it should look to rebuild."

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