Quarter-way crystal ball

One quarter of the way through the season, we know this about the AFC North: It's not very good. <br><br> The Steelers are inconsistent and turnover prone. The Ravens have no quarterback. The Browns have a horrible offensive line that's crippling their entire offense. And the Bengals, well, they are still the Bengals.<br><br> Here's a team-by-team look at the division so far.

Steelers (2-2)
The Steelers are tied with the Ravens for the division lead, but hold the tiebreaker edge courtesy of a 34-15 shellacking of Baltimore in week 1.

Quarterback Tommy Maddox has thrown nearly as many interceptions that have scored or led directly to touchdowns (3) as he has touchdown passes (5).

That's the bad news.

The good news is that the defense is much-improved, while the offense remains explosive. If this team can figure out how to get the ball into the end zone, the Steelers could win a game or two in the playoffs.

Predicted finish: 10-6, first place

Baltimore (2-2)
Brian Billick had better hope his decision to throw rookie QB Kyle Boller to the lions pays off in the long run, because it's ruining this season.

The Ravens may get a record-breaking season out of running back Jamal Lewis and still struggle to win eight games this season because the rookie just isn't ready to play.

The defense will keep Baltimore from getting blown out of too many games, but Boller isn't going to help them win many. Wait until next year, maybe.

Predicted finish: 8-8, second place

Cincinnati (1-3)
The Bengals have played much more spirited football under new head coach Marvin Lewis, but it's still only added up to one win at this point.

Then again, that's half of last year's total, so there is a bright side.

Chad Johnson is an emerging star at wide receiver, and Lewis is doing the right thing by not rushing Carson Palmer into the lineup.

Now, if he could just get Corey Dillon to play more than a handful of plays on Sunday, the Bengals might start winning more of these close games.

Predicted finish: 5-11, third place

Cleveland (1-3)
Butch Davis, you got some 'splainin' to do. How can a team whose offense was so good in 2002, be so bad in 2003. The offensive line is a joke. Certainly the loss of Ross Verba can be blamed to some extent, but this group couldn't collectively block a toilet.

For the Browns to be averaging 11 points per game is a farce.

And we're not even going to mention that record-setting performance Lewis put up against the defense. This may be it for Davis in Cleveland.

Predicted finish: 5-11, fourth place

Steel City Insider Top Stories