The Bengals are primed to make a run at a third consecutive playoff berth, something that hasn't been done in franchise history. However, to do so, they'll have to navigate their way through a tough schedule and through the AFC North, one of the toughest divisions in the league. The Ravens are coming off a Super Bowl victory, the Steelers have more Super Bowl wins than any other team in the league and the Browns are an up and coming team.
Which of those teams pose the biggest threat to the Bengals in 2013?
The Browns are coming off a 5-11 season, but have made some major upgrades this offseason. They've hired new head coach Rob Chudzinski and brought in Norv Turner as the offensive coordinator and Ray Horton as the defensive coordinator. They have talent on both sides of the ball and, while they likely won't be heading to the playoffs in 2013, they are better than their 5-11 record. They aren't a team the Bengals can just roll over anymore.
The Steelers have been the hump the Bengals have struggled to get over for a long time. Last season, the Bengals locked their spot in the playoffs and knocked the Steelers out when they won in Pittsburgh in Week 16. The Steelers are one of those teams that finds themselves fighting for a playoff spot every year and they have great players on both sides of the ball. However, the Steelers have lost a few people and, because of their cap space situation, they weren't able to sign many free agents. They did have a solid draft in 2013, though, and will be looking to bounce back from an 8-8 season.
The Ravens are coming off a Super Bowl win in 2012 but lost two future hall of fame players on defense and one of their best wide receivers on offense. They did sign a handful of talented players in free agency, including Elvis Dumervil, and they did their best to replace some of the players they lost in free agency or to retirement. They may not be the same without the leadership of Ray Lewis, but they're still going to be one of the better teams in the AFC this coming season.
Which team do you think poses the largest threat to the Bengals in 2013?