Who Will Win the AFC North? PFN Simulations Predict the Ravens Will Stay on Top

With OTAs in action, PFN's Playoff Predictor has tried to figure out who will win the AFC North. Who came out on top?

It’s widely believed that the AFC North is the best division in the NFL, with each team being complete and capable of winning double-digit games. That was the case in 2023, with three teams making the postseason and the fourth falling just short.

The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers have historically dominated, but the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals have both been forces to be reckoned with in recent seasons.

As OTAs (organized team activities) have begun, Pro Football Network’s NFL Playoff Predictor tool has tried to figure out who will win the toughest division in 2024.

Ravens, Bengals Battle for AFC North Title

While the entire division is strong, our simulations have the Ravens and Bengals going back and forth with the best odds to win the AFC North and host a playoff game. However, the Ravens have the edge, with the best odds to win it for the second year in a row.

Baltimore dominated the NFL in 2023, finishing with the best record in the league, and making it all the way to the AFC Championship Game.

In 2024, the Ravens return MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson as well as an elite defense. They also return a healthy team that has its eye on a bigger prize: a Super Bowl. Oh yeah, they also added Derrick Henry.

For the Bengals, 2023 was a wash due to Joe Burrow’s season-ending injury and the injury to start the year. Despite that, they still made a push for the postseason.

Now, in 2024, Burrow is back, and Cincinnati is healthy once again. Add that on top of free agency and draft additions, and the Bengals could be ready to make another push to the Super Bowl.

With the Ravens and Bengals dominating, neither the Browns nor the Steelers had great odds, with Pittsburgh not winning the division at all and Cleveland winning it less than 10% of the time.

A Steelers Surprise?

While the Steelers weren’t predicted to win the AFC North a single time, their roster is still worthy of attention. Pittsburgh retains one of the best defenses in the NFL but notably has an entirely new quarterback room.

Initially, the Steelers signed Russell Wilson, who was released by the Denver Broncos. In addition, they traded Kenny Pickett away to the Philadelphia Eagles and traded for Justin Fields from the Chicago Bears.

Meanwhile, Mason Rudolph left in free agency, leaving the Steelers’ new QB room to be led by Wilson, with Fields sitting right behind him.

If the Steelers are able to get improved production out of their quarterbacks, even if it’s not elite, it should be enough to raise their ceiling from just making the playoffs to potentially winning the division.

Potential NFL Playoff Matchups

For the Ravens, their most frequent playoff opponents amongst the playoff-predictor simulations are the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans, and Bengals. They also saw matchups with the Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, and Los Angeles Chargers.

The Bengals, meanwhile, saw the Chiefs the most, which would continue their growing rivalry. Additionally, they faced the Ravens, Texans, Bills, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, and Jacksonville Jaguars.

As for the Browns, they faced the Bills the most, in addition to the Jets, Jaguars, and Chiefs. The Steelers, on the other hand, faced the Dolphins, Jaguars, and Chiefs.

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