AFC North, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers

AFC North 2022 Season Prediction Are The Bengals For Real?

AFC North 2022 Season Prediction Are The Bengals For Real?

The AFC North ended up being one of the more unpredictable divisions last year. It didn’t get anywhere near 2020’s win total and the two teams most (including us) expected to fight out the title ended up missing the playoffs!

Big Ben’s swan song ended with the Steelers getting the No 7 seed – something we did predict but the surprise was the Cincinnati Bengals who not only went from last to first but also ended up in the Super Bowl. Whether they were a tad lucky to get there is open to debate, however, what is for sure is that they look stronger than last year.

Baltimore lost their last six games and ended up bottom. Lamar Jackson’s injury played a big part in this, and those losses were generally close with five being by less than 3 points! They had an excellent draft and look more likely to finish top than bottom again.

Pittsburgh begins life without Ben Rotheslberger and is hard to fathom this year. They made the playoffs and although they were inconsistent their running game was much improved. The Steelers drafted what they hope will be their QB of the future in round one and still have a lot of talent on defense. They might do better than the odds makers seem to expect.

Finally, we come to Cleveland who have had the Deshaun Watson media circus to contend with all off-season. He is suspended for 11 games and this may be too much for them to overcome. Otherwise, their roster is loaded and if they end up getting Jimmy Garoppolo from the 49ers we might have to rethink their win total. As it is they look like matching last season’s total at best.

Speaking of which the 2021 finishing order is below.

AFC North 2021 Finishing Order

Cincinnati Bengals 10-7
Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7-1
Cleveland Browns 8-9
Baltimore Ravens 8-9

The Bengals of course went on to reach the Super Bowl while Pittsburgh was well beaten in the opening playoff round.

This looks like being a two-team race this year and both should make the playoffs. Again we will caveat this as the Browns with Jimmy G would be our favourite for the division.

AFC North Predicted Finish.

1st Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens as mentioned above would probably have been in the playoffs had Lamar Jackson not been injured. They still look thin behind him, but we have to assume he will be fit this season and overall the team looks even better than last year.

Lamar Jackson AFC North

Image: Steve Jacobson/

They had an excellent draft haul and also added Marcus Williams to an already ferocious defense in free agency. Baltimore did traded their No1 WR Hollywood Brown, but Rashod Bateman should be better in his second year so that’s not too much of a worry.

They can lean on their defense in big games and when your second string includes the likes of Justin Houston & Kyle Fuller you know they are going to be special on that side of the ball. Even 1st round draft pick Kyle Hamilton is not guaranteed to start despite his potential.

Finishing bottom last year means they get some (theoretically) easier games including the NY teams and the Jaguars. Plus they play Cleveland while Watson is suspended. The divisional crown could come down to conference record and that has us leaning towards the Ravens.

2nd Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals pretty much shocked everyone last year. Not only taking the division but coming close to winning it all. Their main weakness in 2021 was their O-Line and they have massively improved it with three big free agency moves. They needed to given Joe Burrow was sacked 70 times last year including seven times in the Super Bowl! If their new look Offensive Line stays healthy he will have a much happier 2022.

Their defense is solid enough and they had the luxury of drafting extra depth in the secondary and they resigned a few starters too. If they can avoid the typical post Super Bowl hangover they will go close and should be in the playoffs in any event.

3rd Cleveland Browns

The media circus surrounding the Deshaun Watson trade has to a certain degree meant that people have written the Browns off. However, their roster otherwise is sound and they have enough of a running game to keep them competitive even without a QB1. They were quiet in free agency, but when your roster is deep already that less of an issue.

Most of their draft went on the Watson trade, but even here they managed to add a bit of depth and RB Jerome Ford should get a few carries. If Jacoby Brisset can steer them to five or six wins before Watson’s suspension ends then their last six games are going to be interesting.

4th Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have not had a losing season since 2003 which was ironically when Ben Roethlisberger joined them. Who replaces him is the main question mark against them this year. They have drafted Kenny Pickett but look set to start with Trubisky.

He is a solid enough choice and given they have strengthened the O-Line in free agency he should be able to lean on the run game. They have drawn the short straw schedule-wise with trips to the Bills, Colts & Dolphins in their conference games. Plus interconference trips to The Eagles & Pathers are tricky.

They should be good enough to get at least eight wins, however, that might not be good enough to keep them off the bottom of the AFC North.


AFC North Final Wins Total

Baltimore Ravens 11-6

Cincinnati Bengals 11-6

Cleveland Browns 8-9

Pittsburgh Steelers 8-9




So there you have it our predictions for the AFC North which could be the hardest fought division in the AFC. This doesn’t guarantee a Superbowl slot though!

While you are here why not check out our other AFC North Posts or have a go at some of our NFL Quizzes. Go on everyone loves a Quiz, don’t they?


Header Image: Harold Stiver/


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