2023 AFC North Win Totals Projections

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It’s time to take a look at AFC North win totals. Welcome to the second installment of our series where we go through division-by-division win totals and projections for every team in the NFL for the 2023 season. 

The AFC North contains some strong teams with a rich history of success in the NFL. The Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers all play in the AFC North. 

Let’s take a look at AFC North Win Totals 

So, let’s get into our AFC North win totals. I give my over/under picks for each team as we gear up for another season of action-packed drama in the world of the NFL.

The Bengals and the Ravens were both able to make the playoffs last season. The former made it after winning the AFC North, whilst the latter managed to secure a Wild Card spot with the sixth seed in the AFC. 

But which teams from the AFC North will be able to make the playoffs for the 2023 season? Can Joe Burrow sustain his recent success with the Bengals? Will Lamar Jackson be able to stay healthy this time around? Will Deshaun Watson be able to bounce back after a poor year with the Browns last season? Will Mike Tomlin be able to deliver yet another winning season? Below we give you some answers and evaluate how these factors impact AFC North win totals. 

Cincinnati Bengals – AFC North Win Totals 

  • AFC North Win Totals: 11.5 
  • 2022 Record: 12-4

The Cincinnati Bengals played in their second straight AFC Championship last season but weren’t able to make it to the Super Bowl like they did the year prior. It was the Bengals up against the Chiefs once more but this time, Patrick Mahomes was able to get the job done. 

Can the Bengals go on and win their third straight divisional title this year? Have they made the right changes and additions to finally get the job done this season? Read on and see my thoughts.

AFC North win totals - Burrow Chase and Higgins have something to say
AFC North win totals – Burrow Chase and Higgins have something to say

How good are Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins? 

Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins have been a deadly wide receiver duo since Chase was drafted with the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. Higgins himself was drafted just a year earlier with the 33rd overall pick. The Cincinnati scouts certainly seem to know what they’re doing when it comes to the receiver department. 

Both receivers have managed to get over 1000 receiving yards over the past two years. They also accounted for a total of 16 touchdowns during the regular season last year. Chase and Higgins have the ability to rival any other WR duo in the league, even the explosive Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle at the Miami Dolphins. You can check out my 2023 AFC East Win Totals article to see my feelings on them.

With the reliable Tyler Boyd also on the roster, the Bengals have a fantastic pass-catching corps. They have allowed Burrow to become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Once again, the Bengals will be hoping for a deep run in the playoffs. 

Have the Bengals solved their O-Line issues? 

Despite reaching Super Bowl LVI, it seemed a miracle that they got there. The offensive line was poor, yet somehow Burrow managed to drag his team through. The Bengals made some improvements to the O-line last season in the form of Alex Cappa, Ted Karras and La’el Collins. 

However, just one player on the O-line had a PFF grade above 70 last year. It is still posing issues for the Bengals offense. Nevertheless, the addition of former Chiefs tackle Orlando Brown Jr. during free agency should greatly improve Burrow’s protection.

Brown has had a 70+ PFF grade in four out of his last five seasons in Kansas. His four-year, $64 million dollar contract indicates that the Bengals believe he can make a big impact on the offense this year. 

Bengals should be covered at secondary

Having lost both their starting safeties in Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell, the Bengals secondary will look different next year. However, 2022 31st overall pick Dax Hill is expected to make the step up this season. Now is the time to show everyone what he can do in the NFL. 

Nick Scott is expected to start next to Hill at safety after signing with the Bengals during the offseason. Scott has proven success with the Los Angeles Rams as he helped them reach Super Bowl LVI. The 28-year-old will bring experience to the team to compliment the youthful Hill. His leadership and versatility will be key to the secondary. It could make the difference to AFC North win totals.

Cincinnati Bengals Current AFC North Win Totals: 11.5 

The Bengals could be one of the surest bets outside of the Kansas City Chiefs. They have elite talent embedded throughout the roster, starting with signal caller Burrow. He will continue to link up with Chase and Higgins, whilst the defense looks solid as well. 

Best Bet: Over 11.5 wins 

Baltimore Ravens – AFC North Win Totals 

  • AFC North Win Totals: 8.5 
  • 2022 Record 10-7

The Ravens returned to the playoffs last season after their absence for the 2021 season. However, they failed to get past the Bengals at the Wild Card round. Tyler Huntley had to fill in under center for the injured Lamar Jackson.

The team’s health, including Jackson, Dobbins and others, will be pivotal for the outcome of the Ravens’ season and could influence AFC North win totals. What else can influence AFC North win totals?

A new-look offense under Todd Monken? 

We could see a more balanced offense under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. The former Georgia Bulldogs offensive coordinator makes his return to the NFL after spending two years in college football. His last NFL team was an AFC North rival in the Cleveland Browns.

Monken and Lamar can change the offensive scheme

Monken’s achievements in Georgia have certainly caught the eye of many. He is now set up for success in the NFL with Jackson as his quarterback. Monken was a part of the Bulldogs coaching staff that won back-to-back national championships. 

It is thought that the 57-year-old coach could help out Jackson, especially in the passing game. Monken has proven success in that department at the NFL level. He helped Baker Mayfield to one of his best seasons as a passer at the Browns in 2019. That year, Mayfield threw for 3827 yards and 22 touchdowns. 

Lamar must stay healthy – it impacts AFC North win totals 

Jackson will need to stay healthy throughout the entire campaign if the Ravens want to go on a deep playoff run. He has started just 12 games in each of the past two seasons. When he’s on the field, the Ravens have one of the most dangerous and dynamic offenses in the NFL. Now that Monken is a part of the Ravens staff, he could help really elevate the offense and influence AFC North win totals. 

Everybody knows how effective Lamar is as a rusher. However, his passing game has been improving every year as well. The Ravens have also added some extra weapons to help improve the passing game. SportsHub.com will be following early team reactions to offseason moves.

They drafted Zay Flowers with the 22nd overall pick in the 2023 draft and also added Odell Beckham Jr. in free agency. They will join the likes of fellow pass-catchers Rashod Bateman (22nd overall pick in the 2021 draft) and three-time Pro Bowler Mark Andrews. Combined, the four make up a delectable receiving corps for Lamar and Monken to tap into. It could be an exciting season for the Ravens.

Baltimore Ravens Current AFC North win totals: 8.5 

Looking for their first AFC North title since 2019, the Ravens should feel confident about their chances this season. The offense is looking troublesome and, if Lamar can stay healthy throughout the year, the Ravens could be in line for a deep run in the playoffs. Considering the Ravens have had at least nine wins in five out of their last six seasons, they should hit the total. 

Best Bet: Over 8.5 wins 

Cleveland Browns – AFC North Win Totals 

  • AFC North Win Totals: 9.5 
  • 2022 Record: 7-10 

It was always going to be difficult for the Browns with Jacoby Brissett as starting quarterback for the first 11 games. The move to Deshaun Watson didn’t work out when he finished the season after finishing his suspension in week 13.

Now it has now been consecutive seasons for the Browns without making the playoffs. Can Watson return to his 2020 form to affect AFC North win totals? Will this finally be the year Brown fans can celebrate an NFL playoffs birth?

Can Deshaun Watson bounce back? How he can impact AFC North win totals 

The Browns are looking to build a new identity and set a new culture after issues with signing Watson. They need to get the 27-year-old back to his best, especially after he signed a monster, fully guaranteed, five-year, $230 million contract. It was the biggest contract with the most guaranteed money in NFL history. Deshaun now needs to deliver.

He will be playing in his first full season for the Browns after the end of his suspension. Watson played just six games last year (went 3-3) and had seven touchdowns and five interceptions. His passer rating of 79.1 last season ended up being the lowest of his career. Therefore, it is essential Watson makes a return to his best for the Browns to succeed. 

Za’Darius Smith to improve the pass-rush

Za’Darius Smith has now joined the roster to help out the pass-rush. He managed to record ten sacks for the Minnesota Vikings last year. The acquisition of Smith indicates that the Browns are now all in for 2023 success and it looks as though the window is now for a run at the Super Bowl. 

There is some concern about the deal to sign Smith. He will turn 31-years-old around the start of the 2023 season and had to deal with a recurring knee injury last season.

Smith failed to start a single game during the 2021 season with the Green Bay Packers. However, if he can stay healthy, Smith could help add to what is already a strong pass-rush. The Browns also have Myles Garrett and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo on the roster.

Cleveland Browns Current AFC North win totals: 9.5

The Browns are gambling that Watson can return to his previous elite levels. His performances will play a huge role in AFC North win totals. They are all in on current success but it looks like the AFC North will be another extremely strong division. 10 wins seems a little too much of a reach for this season. 

Best Bet: Under 9.5 wins

Pittsburgh Steelers – AFC North Win Totals 

  • AFC North Win Totals: 8.5 
  • 2022 Record: 9-8 

Despite going 3-7 through Week 11 during the 2022 NFL season, Mike Tomlin once again led the Steelers to a winning season. A run of just one defeat in six to end the year saw Pittsburgh finish the year 9-8. But they still narrowly missed out on the playoffs. 

Kenny Pickett? Yes he can!

There’s no denying that the Steelers need to improve on offense this season. They averaged just 18.1 points for the 2022 season, which was the seventh lowest in the NFL. 

After being selected with the 20th overall pick in the 2022 draft, Pickett needs to improve upon his rookie season. The 25-year-old still had a winning season (7-5) after being named starter ahead of Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky started just five games last season as the Steelers went 2-3. However, Pickett threw for seven touchdowns and nine interceptions. Not impressive at all.

Growth of Pickett will affect AFC North win totals
Growth of Pickett will affect AFC North win totals

There’s good news for Steelers fans though, many QBs struggle in their first year. Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence hardly had a convincing first season in the NFL. He threw for 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in his rookie season before going on to throw 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions the following year. 

There is still plenty of time for Pickett to improve and succeed in the NFL. His PFF grades were encouraging. That saw him have a pass grade of 73 and a rush grade of 77.5 for 2022. His three rushing touchdowns proved he has courage in the run game too.

How can the O-line and receivers impact the offense? 

The offensive line clearly needed some help after last season. The Steelers drafted Broderick Jones with the 14th overall pick to try and do exactly that.

Jones was named in the 2021 SEC All-Freshman team after playing for the Georgia Bulldogs. He could be the new starting left tackle on the Steelers offense and his growth is promising. That could drastically improve Pickett’s fortunes at quarterback and 2023 AFC North win totals. 

There are also some concerns regarding Diontae Johnson who wasn’t able to hit 1000 receiving yards last year. He also failed to score a single touchdown. George Pickens could be set for a breakout year, though, after posting solid numbers in his rookie season. He managed to get 801 receiving yards for four touchdowns.

Pittsburgh Steelers Current AFC North win totals: 8.5

Tomlin continues to pull it out of the bag and managed to finish with yet another +.500 season last year. That made it eight out of their last nine seasons with 9+ wins on the year. Star defensive player T.J. Watt was injured last season too and only started 10 games last year, yet the Steelers still managed to get to nine wins. 

The offense is the only thing that could potentially hold back the Steelers. With Pickett expected to improve, especially with help on the O-line, we are expecting big things for the Steelers. If Watt can stay off the injury list, there’s no doubt they will hit nine wins. 

Best Bet: Over 8.5 wins 

AFC North Win Totals – FAQ

Which NFL teams play in the AFC North?

Each NFL division has a total of four teams. The four teams that occupy the AFC North are: the Cincinnati Bengals, the Baltimore Ravens, the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Who has the most AFC North divisional titles?

The Pittsburgh Steelers have won the most AFC North titles with 24. The Cincinnati Bengals have won the second most AFC North titles with 11, followed by the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens with six each. AFC North win totals are affected within the division every season.

Which team should have the best 2023 AFC North win totals in the division?

The Cincinnati Bengals appear to be the most likely to win the most games in the AFC North for the 2023 season. They have won the last two divisional titles and will look to make it three this season. The Pittsburgh Steelers last won the division in 2020, the Baltimore Ravens in 2019 and the Cleveland Browns in 1987.

What is the biggest rivalry in the AFC North?

There are many good rivalries between teams in the AFC North. Since teams in the same division will play each other twice each season, it creates plenty of fierce rivalries. However, the Steelers-Browns and the Ravens-Steelers rivalries appear to be the biggest AFC North rivalries.

Is Joe Burrow the best quarterback in the NFL?

Since being drafted first overall in the 2020 draft, Joe Burrow has developed as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He helped guide the Bengals to Super Bowl LVI and the best AFC North win totals in 2023. Burrow has a great chance at being named MVP for the 2023 season and is definitely one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.