The AFC North is set to be one of the most competitive divisions in the entire NFL in the 2023 season. All four teams have a shot at making a trip to the playoffs, however, two teams have already proven that they have what it takes to win the division with their current core. These two teams are the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have taken the AFC North for the two past seasons, however, with the big additions that the Ravens made over the offseason paired with Lamar Jackson coming back with a huge payday, this could be the year that Baltimore ends the run.
The Cincinnati Bengals have the best chance of winning the AFC North in the 2023 season. They are coming back with one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Joe Burrow, and arguably the top receiving core in the entire NFL. Last season, Cincinnati took the division with a record of 12-4 while the Ravens finished in second with a very respectable 10-7 record.
Burrow is coming off of another very strong season and there are no signs pointing to 2023 being any different for him. With him being one of the few players in the league that can carry an entire offense by himself if Burrow continues to play at an elite level, the Bengals will finish with one of the best records in the AFC. However, with the Ravens coming into the season with a much stronger offensive unit than they had in 2022, the Bengals will not be able to drop easy games against divisional opponents as they have in the past.
As long as they are able to take care of business and take the season week by week, there is no reason why the Bengals should not go on to win their third consecutive division title in the 2023 season.
Despite the Baltimore Ravens coming short of winning the AFC North since the 2019 season, there is a chance that they can pull it together and win their seventh divisional title in franchise history this season. With Jackson finally getting the payday that he has earned, there is a chance that NFL fans could be seeing a revitalized version of him this year. Along with becoming the highest-paid player in the league, the Ravens’ front office also made sure to give him plenty of weapons in the receiving core.
Throughout the course of his entire NFL career, it could be argued that Jackson has never shared the field with a truly elite wideout. There is a strong chance that this will change in the 2023 season. Over the offseason, Baltimore opened their pocketbooks and brought in Odell Beckham Jr. to a one-year deal. Along with this, they selected Zay Flowers with their first-round pick. With Jackson finally having some help at the wide receiver position, it will allow him to open up his game and prove his abilities as a passer. If he is able to better round out his game this year, it will make it much more likely that he can make it through the season without suffering any major injuries and it could lead to the Ravens being one of the toughest teams to stop in the league.
If Jackson is able to remain healthy through the regular season and establish himself as an elite passer, the Ravens are more than capable of winning the AFC North for the first time since 2019.
While the Ravens are a very compelling team heading into the season, there are still far too many question marks on their roster to confidently pick them as the winners of the AFC North. The Bengals have proven that they have what it takes to dominate the division, and since Burrow has established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the league, the rest of the division has been incapable of keeping up with the Bengals. While the Ravens could make it happen, they will have to have a lot of things go their way.
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