2012 NFL Previews: Tampa Bay Bucs| Indianapolis Colts | New England Patriots | Seattle Seahawks |Minnesota Vikings | St. Louis Rams |Cleveland Browns | Arizona Cardinals| San Diego Chargers | Atlanta Falcons | Chicago Bears | Oakland Raiders | Carolina Panthers| Cincinnati Bengals | San Francisco 49ers | Philadelphia Eagles | New Orleans Saints |Jacksonville Jaguars | New York Giants | Dallas Cowboys | New York Jets
Baltimore and Pittsburgh have played some of the best games of the past decade. They get to share one preview, for economy sake, since I wrote each separately and then realized I said the same thing. So, depending on your rooting interest, substitute in the appropriate comment.
Baltimore/Pittsburgh are the favorites to win the AFC North, just like they have been for much of the last 12 years. The Ravens/Steelers will still rely on one of the league’s best defenses, though one has to wonder if Father Time will ever step in and knock them down a notch. Are you going to tell Ray Lewis/James Harrison that they are getting too old, though? Didn’t think so. Baltimore/Pittsburgh has one of the best safeties in the game in Ed Reed/Troy Polamalu though injuries and age could be a big factor there. If their aging stars can stay healthy, there is no reason they should not be Super Bowl contenders.
On offense, Joe Flacco/Ben Roethlisberger have an emerging receiving group, as Torrey Smith/Antonio Brown had a breakout year last season and look poised to continue it. If Flacco/Roethlisberger can get protection and get rid of the ball (which is sometimes an issue), then he can overcome his unibrow/bulbous nose and have a big year.
It gets kind of boring talking about Baltimore/Pittsburgh because they are always in contention with one of the top organizations and one of the best coaches in the game in John Harbaugh/Mike Tomlin . Sure, they have to overcome the key injuries to Terrell Suggs/the running backs and rookie David DeCastro , but we’ve seen them find ways to compensate, and they should do so again. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them in contention for the AFC Title in 2012.
[photo via US Presswire]