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M21 AFC North Preview

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Old 07-18-2020, 11:48 PM   #1
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M21 AFC North Preview

With team announcements winding down, we are beginning to get a sense of how the AWFL 21 landscape will look. We have an interesting mix this cycle of longtime fans going to new teams (RFF, Hskr,BigK) as well as old timers returning to their stomping grounds (Auto, Greatness, Arlen). Along with the addition of a 7th playoff spot in each division this will create some interesting rivalries and story lines throughout the AWFL cycle. This week, we will take a deep dive into the AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals Owner-NB

Key Players-
HB Joe Mixon (89 OVR)
Mixon comes out of the gate as one of the best young backs in the entire game already. He couldn't be in better hands as I'm sure NB will make the best use of him while developing #1 pick QB Joe Burrow and easing AJ Green(88) back into action. The Bengals have long been a team associated with multi person backfields, I have a feeling Mixon will find himself among the leagues featured backs.

DT Geno Atkins (88 Ovr) Atkins returns to anchor what looks to be the strength of this defensive unit. New addition DJ Reader (84) will eat up blocks, allowing Atkins and ends Carlos Dunlap (82) and Carl Lawson (80) room to make plays.

Building Blocks
QB Joe Burrow (76 Ovr)
Does Cincinnati finally have their franchise QB? I think, especially in AWFL, that answer will be a resounding yes. Burrow isn’t exactly starting with an empty cupboard as he has weapons like Mixon, AJ Green, Tyler Boyd (83), John Ross (76) and a coach who will be able to get the best of him. Burrow is my pick for AFC OROY in what will be a highly contested race this season.

FS Jessie Bates III (79 Ovr) Bates is one of my favorite players on the Bengals defense, this guy just gets after it. He has put in two solid seasons already and may be slightly underrated at 79. However, at just 23 years old, expect to see Bates enter the upper echelon of S in the league rather quickly.

Outlook
The offensive line is a serious problem but the rest of the offense has a lot of potential. If they can manage to keep their skill guys upright and healthy, this team will have the opportunity to make a big leap this season. The defense made some big additions this year like SS Vonn Bell (79), CB Trae Waynes (79) and DT Reader. The team needs a big jump from them to have the leap into the playoffs that we are predicting. The AFC will be an absolute slugfest this season but expect the Bengals to be playoff regulars.

Baltimore Ravens Owner-Bmore
Key Players
QB Lamar Jackson (94 OVR)
No doubt about this one. This year’s cover boy may be the best Madden player since 04 Vick. He has it all, unmatched speed and a precision arm. The Ravens continued to add fun new weapons for him this offseason like HB Dobbins (75) and WR Devin Duvernay (71).Bmore utilized Jackson very well last cycle and I expect him to be even more efficient this cycle.

CB Marlon Humphrey (89) Baltimore has a few amazing defensive players but Humphrey is a premier young talent at a premium position. He teams up with Marcus Peters (85) and Jimmy Smith (83) to create one of the most talented CB trios in the entire league.

Building Blocks
WR Marquise Brown (80 OVR)
The Ravens have no shortage of guys to choose from in this category but Hollywood is a gamechanger when healthy. His 97 Spd, 94 ACC and 96 AGI makes him one of the most lethal weapons in the game and he will only get better and more deadly as the cycle progresses.

MLB Patrick Queen (72 OVR) This year’s first round pick, Queen has 89 SPD, 90 ACC which makes him one of the most athletic MLBs in the league. With a lot of veteran talent around him, Queen will have the freedom to grow into his role in the defense.

Outlook
Bmore is someone we have seen make steady improvement in his time in the league. I think this may be the year he is able to make that next leap and break into the playoff tier. The team has an excellent mix of veteran playmakers and young talent. I think S1 will be his best opportunity before the Bengals and Steelers have a chance to build their team a little but look for the Ravens to make some noise this year.

Pittsburgh Steelers Owner-Nelly
Key Players
WR JuJu Smith Schuster (86 OVR)
Juju is still only 23 years old so he has plenty of room to grow and will be a top receiver the entire cycle. The biggest question is, how long will it be Big Ben(81) throwing him the ball in the Burgh?

OLB TJ Watt (86 OVR) Watt has quickly become one of the most ferocious pass rushers and is still only 25 years old. He will be a cycle long menace for QBs in the AFC North

Building Blocks
MLB Devin Bush (76 OVR)
Bush has 90 SPD and 92 ACC and will be in the hands of someone who makes the most out of usering MLB’s. I have a feeling a lot of us may be having flashbacks to M20 Bush a lot this cycle.
FS Minkah Fitzpatrick (87 OVR) The versatile DB had a huge impact on this defense after his trade from Miami. He is already rated as a top 12 S in the league and is still only 23 years old. The Steelers defense is on the upswing and has some bright young talent but he may be the brightest among them.

Outlook
Nelly really seemed to have gotten the hang of the sliders towards the end of last cycle after joining the league late. He pushed strong for a playoff spot in S6 and had the Bucs looking formidable. Whenever he was the Steelers in a past league he was a regular playoff contender. I think he will have a bounce back cycle this year and compete for a regular playoff spot in the tough AFC.

Cleveland Browns Owner-Schuck
Key Players
HB Nick Chubb (92 OVR)
This man is an ANIMAL. 97 BTK, 90 TRK to go along with 92 SPD, 91 ACC and 82 COD. Schuck will surely be feeding him the ball with Kareem Hunt (87) being easily the leagues best backup. The only issue for Chubb will be the Browns embarrassment of riches on offense.
DE Myles Garrett (93 OVR) New contract in hand, Garrett may be the best young pass rusher in the league. The Browns are going to need him to play up to that contract because they have their hands full with this division.

Building Blocks
CB Denzel Ward (86 OVR)
At only 23 years old, he is already in the top 13 CBs in the league. Ward teams up with Greedy Williams (75) to be a formidable pair who could be together the entire cycle.
LT Jedrick Wills Jr (73 OVR) Wills will be expected to start from day 1 and he will round out what looks to be a decent offensive line with Conklin (78) Tretter (79) Teller (68) and Bitonio (86).

Outlook
The Browns are one of the better teams and I respect the hell out of Schuck but I don’t see him as much more than a spoiler in this division. He will keep a lot of games competitive but this division will be too much.

Best New Rivalry-NB Vs Nelly
These two were in the same division at the end of last cycle and NB got the better of it but by that point the teams were a little mismatched. I will be interested to see if Nelly can even the score with somewhat similar rated teams but something tells me these games are going to decide this division more often than not.

Best out of division game-Bengals (NB) Vs Texans (Seran) Week 16
This was a matchup we saw a few times in the NFC playoffs last cycle. There could be big stakes on the line as these two matchup late in the season. Both players will be used to their teams by then and likely rolling on all cylinders.

Last edited by Hskr8128; 07-19-2020 at 01:46 AM.
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