Here's why your favorite team is going to fail in 2013, AFC NORTH:
It's already begun.
Ravens fans, have you been properly congratulated on your Super Bowl victory yet? Wow, that was something! You stunned the Broncos in Mile High, rolled over the Pats in Foxboro, and came out on top as the underdog versus the Niners to win it all. It doesn't get much better than that. And it won't.
You've lost Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, very much the heart and soul of the team, and consequently your defense was scorched for 49 points last night-- more points allowed by a Ravens defense in over a decade. You're going to have to look to guys like Joe Flacco for leadership. Here's Joe Flacco's new line of Joe Flacco t-shirts, "with all the personality you would expect from a Joe Flacco t-shirt." Go ahead Joe Flacco, we're all dying to see you defend your Super Bowl title. Have at it!
Baltimore, you did such an incredible job last season, just take this year off. You've earned it.
Curse of the Hard Knocks
People are expecting big things from the Bengals-- how could this ever go wrong? If you were to ask a sports fan from Cincinnati this question, they'd probably reply with something along the lines of "it just will."
What Andy Reid is to NFC championship games, Marvin Lewis is to the AFC wild card round. The Bengals have played "just the tip" with the playoffs on and off for the past decade. The Bengals haven't won a playoff game in 22 years. When the Bengals last won a playoff game, Curtis Martin was not yet in the league. The Gulf War had yet to happen. The moon landing was closer to that day the Bengals won a playoff game than today. The moon landing.
So why won't it happen this season? No real Super Bowl contender ever goes on Hard Knocks. They're busy. The Bengals could have been a talented team flying under the radar, instead they opted to be thrust into the spotlight from the get-go. You can't blame them, though. If it's not going to end well, it may as well start with a bang.
The Browns are a popular sleeper pick this season. People like Brandon Weeded in Norv Turner's offense. They like Josh Gordon at wide receiver. They're drafting Jordan Cameron as their secret weapon in fantasy and Trent Richardson is expected to do big things out of the backfield. Cleveland fans haven't had this much since the last time all of their hopes were crushed.
Cleveland will fail because they drafted a 30 year-old rookie quarterback. Cleveland will fail because Trent Richardson carried the ball so many times last year, played through so many injuries, that he probably passed his prime in Week 11. Cleveland will fail because their #1 draft pick, Barkevious Mingo, almost died this preseason.
Black and Old
The collapse of Ben Roethlisberger into nothing but a pile of worn out limbs and one oversized head is imminent.
How many games will Ben Roethlisberger play this season? 10? 12? 14? And if it were up to Ben Roethlisberger, how many games would Ben Roethlisberger play if he also he moonlighted as an arena football QB and also had his own Zog team during the NFL season? 46.
Your 0-line is atrocious, your rookie running back is starting the season with a broken foot, Jonathan Dwyer was cut because he was too fat and Troy Polamalu enjoyed far more air-time by advertising Head & Shoulders than playing football last season. The Steelers have reason to be hopeful every season because they're a proud, well-run franchise, and more power to them. But I think the rest of the NFL can be hopeful that they'll see Bruce Gradkowski under center sooner rather than later if Big Ben keeps taking hits at his usual pace.
Why your team will fail: AFC East