The worst division in the NFL so far this season? The AFC North, with all four of its teams losing in their season opener: The Baltimore Ravens in the game that opened the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers in a somewhat embarrassing manner, the Cleveland Browns ruining their new head coach’s debut and the Cincinnati Bengals in one of the best games of the opening weekend.
The Ravens, unlike most Super Bowl champions, got to open their season on the road, facing the very strong Denver Broncos. The Ravens were expected to look weaker this season after letting go of so many instrumental players from past years.
Maybe this was the win the Broncos should have gotten last year, being the favorites in the playoffs against the Ravens before a 38-35 overtime loss. Joe Flacco was intercepted twice while the running game was non existent. On the other end, Peyton Manning threw for 7 touchdown passes as the Broncos ended up winning 49-27.
The Cincinnati Bengals are probably the popular choice to win the division. Two consecutive playoff appearances; a good offense with a star wide receiver, combined with one of the best defenses in the league. Unfortunately, they opened the season against a very strong Chicago Bears team.
Andy Dalton was intercepted twice and the running game was a huge problem once again. The Bengals lost the turnover battle (3 to 1), dropping their season opener to the Bears 24-21 despite leading until deep in the fourth quarter.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a declining team, in somewhat of a rebuilding phase, but no one expected the offense to look this bad on the season opener against the Tennessee Titans of all teams. The Steelers got only 195 yards of total offense, including only 32 yards on the ground. They scored their first offensive points late in the fourth quarter, not enough to save them from losing 16-9 at home.
The Browns come in with a new head coach but less expectations than anyone else. Still, losing 23-10 at home to the Miami Dolphins wasn’t the plan, as Brandon Weeden threw three interceptions and Trent Richardson struggled to get things going on the ground.