Pittsburgh has used a balanced offense and improved defense to seize control of the AFC North, while Baltimore has used a dominant defense to rise up in the Wild Card hunt, with the Bengals still mathmatically alive and the Browns assured another losing season.
NFL Expert Analyst
2ND HALF PREVIEW
The Steelers sport a 6-2 record entering the 2nd half of the season and have control of the AFC North but question marks still remain about Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the defense and most importantly their ability to win on the road. If the Steelers can keep their key players healthy, they are a sure shot to make the Playoffs but the above mentioned question marks make it hard for me to completely buy in.
The Ravens enter the second half of the season still having a shot at the Playoffs but the team is really imbalanced. The defense has been dominant all year and really carried the team, while the offense is flat out hard to watch. Led by veteran Quarterback Joe Flacco, the offense is average at best, making Baltimore one of the most inconsistent teams in the league.
After a 3-5 start, the Bengals don't look like a Playoff team at all. Quarterback Andy Dalton and the offensive line continue to be inconsistent, which directly impacts how effective play makers like Wide out A.J. Green and Joe Mixon can be. The defense is solid but not good enough to overcome the lack of points the offense can produce. If Cincy finishes with another losing season, this could be the final go round for Head Coach Marvin Lewis.
Despite the fact that Cleveland came into the season without any real expectations, they still have managed to disappoint. The Browns didn't have much talent on offense to begin with, which was a major problem for their young and inexperienced Quarterbacks. The defense plays hard but there's only so much they can do, when their always on the field without any offensive support. After missing on franchise Quarterbacks in the last two drafts, Cleveland is in desperate need of a culture change before they lose touch with their fan base.