Last week, the AFC North blog revisited the "More or Less" predictions made by ESPN's John Clayton a couple of months ago. There's a lot of optimism in the division this year because the majority of fans are predicting more wins than Clayton's forecast. The Steelers received the strongest vote of confidence (67 percent), and the Ravens received the weakest (44 percent).
Here are the results of all the polls as well as selected comments from the mailbag:
Of the 4,986 votes, 57 percent say the Bengals will win more than eight games.
Jack, of Newark, Ohio, writes: I believe the Bengals will finish with either nine or 10 wins this season. Their defense looks like they will have another strong year and finish somewhere in the top 5 or 6 and their offense should be top 15. With a strong defense and a quarterback who takes care of the ball really well (unlike Carson Palmer or Jon Kitna), the Bengals will be more consistent than in the past.
Ben P, of Boston, writes: They're a one dimensional team. A.J. Green will be very difficult for defenses to play against, but other than that, the team hasn't gotten any better since last season -- they're probably worse, given Carlos Dunlap's injury and the current state of their offensive line. They benefitted from an easy schedule last year that didn't make them play too many winning teams and they'll benefit from that again this year. Maybe they'll even be able to take home a win against a playoff team this year. But at the end of the day, they're an 8-8 or 9-7 team.
Of the 7,727 votes, 55 percent say the Browns will win more than four games.
Mark, of Fredericksburg, Va., writes: There is no doubt that the Browns have a difficult schedule this season and a very young football team. However, I do not believe that the Browns will end the season with four wins. They were in every game last year with the exception of Tennessee, Houston, and the first Baltimore game. They are improved on offense and the defense is solid. I predict three division wins, and victories over Indy, San Diego, K.C., and Washington. They may steal one more, or lose one they should/should've. I am comfortable saying six to eight wins.
Alex, of Columbus, Ohio, writes: I think four wins is a bit much. The schedule only has a couple of teams the Browns can compete with. Almost every opponent has better defense and quarterback than Cleveland. Two wins is optimistic. The schedule is bad, and the team is worse. The Browns could be the second team in NFL history to finish 0-16.
Of the 7,647 votes, 44 percent say the Ravens will win more than 10 games.
Bob, of Windham, Maine, writes: Anyone who doesn't say at least 12 wins is, in many words, an idiot. Terrull Suggs isn't "the team." Heck, even with Ray Lewis out last year for three games, the youngsters showed up and out-played him. The Week 3 game against New England will show how dominant they will be. Also, the offense, will be in the likes of New Orleans and what is expected from New England. Go Joe Flacco and Ray Rice!"
Jason Y, of Cartersville, Ga., writes: I think the Ravens will win nine games. I see three losses to the AFC North (two to Pittsburgh and one to Cincy), and potential issues with New England, N.Y. Giants, San Diego, and Philly. I do not think that they will drop all of those last four games (maybe two), but there are several other "trap games" and of course, surprise teams, still on the Ravens schedule that could cost them another win or two.
Of the 6,277 votes, 67 percent say the Steelers will win more than 10 games.
Jesse, of Erie, Pa., writes: The reason the Steelers can still win more than 10 games is because Ben Roethlisberger has been through an unstable offensive line for that past few years and still had success. They still have Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley healthy and one of the best coaches in Mike Tomlin who can get the best out of his backups. For example, remember that undrafted nose tackle who wasn't even thought of to replace Casey Hampton when he went down with an ACL injury. Now that same player is the hier apparant to Hampton's spot -- Steve McLendon.
Bardel, of Vancouver, writes: Before the injuries to David DeCastro, David Johnson and Sean Spence, coupled with the inconsistant play of Mike Adams, I would have said 12 or 13 wins. Even though I feel Max Starks will do a good job, health is still a concern. So, as Steeler fan since childhood, I would be happy with 10 wins, although I think the number could be nine.