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As the season has progressed, each of the four AFC North teams has looked dominant and awful at times. All four teams have won two divisional games and lost at least one. The team that is in first place right now is… the CLEVELAND BROWNS! What? Really? Yes, the Browns.

The Cleveland organization has been so bad for so long, I cannot remember the last time they were good. I started to believe the team was named the “Browns” because the team constantly played like crap. I actually had to look up the last time Cleveland made the playoffs; it was 2002. That was also the year Spider-Man debuted with Tobey McGuire. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets hit theaters. George W. Bush was in the middle of his first term in office.

The Cleveland Browns are having a great season so far. It’s been a shock to everyone, including themselves probably. The team currently has a record of 6-3. The last time the Browns totaled six wins in an entire season was 2007. Between 2008-2013, Cleveland finished with either 4 or 5 wins every season. I have no idea what changed between this year and last but there are some possibilities: Johnny Manziel is actually a god, the return of LeBron James to the city, or the hiring of head coach Mike Pettine.

The Cincinnati Bengals are currently in second place in the division with a record of 5-3-1. The Bengals started the season 3-0 and were one of the last undefeated teams standing. Their first loss was a blowout against the Patriots. Following that game, Cincinnati tied the Panthers. That tie could prove to be vital. They currently are in second place because that tie keeps their number of losses down. The Bengals were shut out by the Colts in an ugly looking game. But then, the next week, the team beat the Ravens. Most recently, the Cincinnati Bengals were destroyed by the Browns. This game wasn’t close. The team looked awful. It seems like the Bengals played at the level the Browns have in the past.

The Steelers are 6-4 and tied for third place in the AFC North. The Steelers could be the most inconsistent team this season. When it comes to playing teams in the division, Pittsburgh has been confusing. They played both of their games against the Browns already, splitting the series with each team winning on their home field. Pittsburgh has also played both of their games against the Baltimore Ravens. The home team in each game won by 20 points, so the series score is 49-49. Now that is an evenly matched series. Over the course of two games, Pittsburgh won by a combined 37 points. During that two game span, Ben Roethlisberger threw a record 12 touchdown passes. Then the next game, the Steelers were dominated by the New York Jets. The JETS! The Jets had lost eight consecutive games prior to this one. The score was not indicative of how one-sided this game was. The Jets quickly jumped out to a 17-0 lead within the first quarter. Things never really looked any better for the Steelers. The Steelers clearly overlooked this game and might cost them when the season winds down.

The Baltimore Ravens currently are in tied for third place in the division, but are in fourth based on tiebreakers. Two of the team’s wins have come against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns in back-to-back weeks early in the season. But the team lost the season series to the Cincinnati Bengals, which could prove important as seeding happens. Baltimore has the easiest schedule towards the end of the season. Its final three games are against Jacksonville, Houston and then Cleveland. That Cleveland game could prove to be very meaningful for both teams, who would’ve thought?

Let’s do some midseason awards for the AFC North:
Most Valuable Player: Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger
Offensive Player of the Year: Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger
Defensive Player of the Year: Ravens linebacker, C.J. Mosley
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Steelers wide receiver, Martavis Bryant
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Ravens linebacker, C.J. Mosley
Coach of the Year: Browns head Coach, Mike Pettine
Comeback Player of the Year: Ravens wide receiver, Steve Smith Sr. & Steelers linebacker James Harrison

This is the only division in the AFC that doesn’t have a realistic winner. As of right now, the Patriots, Colts and Broncos all look like clear winners in their respected divisions. The AFC North will come down to the wire. Ideally, the Browns win the division for the first time since 1989 when they won the AFC Central. But it will take a lot more to sell me on this team. One team has to step up and grab it because they are all so close. Three of these teams have playoff experience. Joe Flacco has led the Ravens to a Super Bowl. Ben Roethlisberger has won two Super Bowls for Pittsburgh. Andy Dalton has led the Bengals to the playoffs the last three years but haven’t won a playoff game.
And the winner of the AFC North will be the… PITTSBURGH STEELERS