1. Pittsburgh Steelers
This could be the last ride with Roethlisberger, Bell and Brown all together on offense.
2. Cincinnati Bengals
A greater focus on running the ball and protecting Andy Dalton should get them back into contention.
3. Baltimore Ravens
The writing is on the wall for Joe Flacco. This will be his last chance to make something of his gigantic contract.
4. Cleveland Browns
Attitudes are changing for the better and that could lead to some surprising results.
Head Coach: Mike Tomlin
Key Position: Running Back
It’s not a concerning position, but one that could be of interest for the Steelers in a hurry. Le’Veon Bell has made it no secret his displeasure over not getting what he believes is a fair contract. It didn’t affect his play last year and there’s no reason to think it will affect him this year. His usage is amongst the highest in the league and that will be interesting to watch this year.
Key Acquisitions: LB Jon Bostic (Indianapolis Colts), S Morgan Burnett (Green Bay Packers)
Key Rookies: DB Terrell Edmunds, WR James Washington
Head Coach: Marvin Lewis
Key Position: Running Back
It’s time for the Bengals to hand over the reigns to Joe Mixon and let him loose. He is no where near what Jeremy Hill was as just a straight line, one-cut bruiser. Mixon can also catch out of the backfield and has deceptive speed. They would be wise to use him often.
Key Acquisitions: LB Preston Brown (Buffalo Bills), T Cordy Glenn (Buffalo Bills)
Key Rookies: OL Billy Price, DB Jessie Bates, DE Sam Hubbard
Head Coach: John Harbaugh
Key Position: Quarterback
No more going through the motions with 3,000 yards passing and maybe 20-25 touchdown passes. This needs to be a career year for Flacco. He now has Michael Crabtree and John Brown as established receivers. Hayden Hurst was one of their first round picks as the best pass-catching tight end in the draft. Lamar Jackson won’t be rushed in to the starting spot, but he is looming behind Flacco.
Key Acquisitions: WR John Brown (Arizona Cardinals), WR Michael Crabtree (Oakland Raiders), QB Robert Griffin III (Cleveland Browns – 2016), WR Willie Snead (New Orleans Saints)
Key Rookies: TE Hayden Hurst, T Orlando Brown, TE Mark Andrews
Head Coach: Hue Jackson
Key Position: Everything
Win you have a winless season, you have to look at it all. Getting QB Tyrod Taylor and WR Jarvis Landry for the offense was an excellent start. Drafting QB Baker Mayfield and DB Denzel Ward in the first round were solid choices that will be a great foundation going forward.
Key Acquisitions: CB T.J. Carrie (Oakland Raiders), OT Chris Hubbard (Pittsburgh Steelers), RB Carlos Hyde (San Francisco 49ers), WR Jarvis Landry (Miami Dolphins), CB Terrance Mitchell (Kansas City Chiefs), DB Damarious Randall (Green Bay Packers), QB Tyrod Taylor (Buffalo Bills)
Key Rookies: QB Baker Mayfield, DB Denzel Ward, OL Austin Corbett, RB Nick Chubb