AFC North: 2012 NFL season preview

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The AFC North established itself as one of the powerhouse divisions of football during the 2011 season. The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers continued their normally strong play, each going 12-4 behind a strong defensive approach and team football. Even the Cincinnati Bengals got in on the action, posting a surprising 9-7 record. Let’s take a look at how each team will measure up during the 2012 season, which is now just a few short months away from kickoff.

Baltimore is the team that will be on everybody’s radar, and rightfully so. Thanks to a third-ranked defense that featured a handful of players who are All-Pro talent, Baltimore stormed its way to a 12-win season and a berth in the AFC Championship Game last season. While they fell short to a feisty Patriots team led by Tom Brady’s stellar play, they still managed to show the world that they are a contender.

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Obviously the big question for Baltimore heading into 2012 is how the team will fare without linebacker Terrell Suggs, last season’s AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Many will recall that Suggs suffered a season-ending ACL injury during the offseason. Although he initially tried to claim that the injury occurred during authorized team workouts, several sources have stated that he actually suffered the injury during a recreational game of basketball. Read more here…

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