ASA’s AFC NORTH PREDICTIONS!

Baltimore Ravens – 2018 record (10-6) – ATS Record (8-8) – Over/Under Record (7-9)
• Yards Per Game Differential +83 YPG
• Point Differential +102

2019 ASA prediction – Play OVER 8.5 Wins for the Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore has been one of the more consistent franchises in the NFL winning at least 8 games in 10 of the last 11 seasons. Last season they finished with the 3rd best point differential in the AFC and the year before they were 4th in that same category. Seven of their 10 wins came by double digits while half of their losses (3) came either by 1-point or in OT. This team was close to having more than 10 wins last year. Lamar Jackson proved to be an upgrade over Joe Flacco at QB and we expect the athletic signal caller will be a much better passer than some think. The defense finished #1 in the NFL in YPG allowed and the AFC North is a question mark. Pittsburgh is in flux losing many key offensive players, Cincy has had 3 consecutive losing seasons, and Cleveland, while improved, will have more pressure on them this year and is not used to being the “hunted”. 9+ wins looks very achievable for this long time successful franchise.

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Pittsburgh Steelers – 2018 record (9-6-1) – ATS Record (8-7-1) – Over/Under Record (8-8)
• Yards Per Game Differential +76 YPG
• Point Differential +68

2019 ASA prediction – Play OVER 9 Wins for the Pittsburgh Steelers

We’ll go against the grain here and lean toward Pittsburgh OVER 9 wins. We have them tabbed for a 9-7 record, however the chances of them getting to 10 are greater than winning 8 in our opinion. Many will downgrade the Black & Gold too much due to the losses of WR Brown and RB Bell. They still have plenty of talent at WR and the locker room camaraderie will surely improve without the disgruntled Brown. They won 9 last year without Bell playing a single snap and his replacement RB Conner was very solid rushing for almost 1,000 yards in just 13 games. The defense was overlooked last year ranking 6th in the NFL in YPG allowed and 1st in sacks per game at 3.2. We’re getting value here. The Steelers were projected to win 10.5 games last year (they won 9) and now they’ve dropped a full 1.5 games. The last time they didn’t win at least 9 games was back in 2013. They’ve averaged 10.8 wins per season the last 5 years. They could get off to a very fast start with 6 of their first 9 games at home. We think Pitt has some extra motivation this year with the doubts from the outside and they get to at least 9 wins.

Cincinnati Bengals – 2018 record (6-10) – ATS Record (9-7) – Over/Under Record (8-6-2)
• Yard Per Game Differential -113
• Point Differential -87

2019 ASA prediction – Play UNDER 6 Wins for the Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have now fallen below the Browns as the probable worst team in the AFC North. Two years ago the oddsmakers set the Bengals win number at 8.5 and they won 7. Last year their total dropped to just 7 and they won only 6. In 2019 they are projected to win just 6 games. As we mentioned Cincy won 6 games last year but they were actually outgained in 5 of those 6 wins so they were a bit lucky to get to that number. QB Andy Dalton is coming off back to back subpar seasons completing only 61% of his passes last year ahead of only 3 rookies, Joe Flacco, and Blake Bortles among NFL regulars. This year he’s working with a new head coach as Zac Taylor comes in with very little NFL coaching experience (4 years as Dolphins QB coach and 2 years as Rams WR & QB coach) and struggles early in the season are expected. The defense finished dead last in the NFL allowing 413 YPG. They will have to learn a new scheme as well under new DC Lou Anarumo who’s been a DC just one year in the NFL in 2015 when his Dolphins allowed nearly 400 YPG finishing 29th in total defense. Four of Cincinnati’s first six games are on the road including games @ Seattle, @ Pittsburgh, and @ Baltimore which could get this team off to a slow start they may have trouble recovering from.

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Cleveland Browns – 2018 record (7-8-1) – ATS Record (10-6) – Over/Under Record (7-8-1)
• Yards Per Game Differential -24
• Point Differential -33

2019 ASA prediction – Play UNDER 9 Wins for the Cleveland Browns

9+ wins for the Browns? Really? While the Browns did look much better last year and are on the right path, to expect this team to win 10+ games is a bit much in our opinion. Let’s not forget that while they did get to 7 wins last year they were outgained and outscored on the season. Let’s also keep in mind the Browns won only FOUR games in their previous 3 seasons leading into last year. They caught many by surprise last year but this season opponents will be ready and we wouldn’t be at all surprised if they take a slight step back this year before moving forward in future seasons. They had a QB in Mayfield that NFL DC’s didn’t have a chance to prepare for and now they have a full year of film on him. Their defense was not very good ranking 30th in the NFL allowing 394 YPG. Lastly they have an unproven head coach in Freddie Kitchens who had never been a coordinator at any level before last season much less a head coach. They trailed or were tied in the 4th quarter in 4 of their 7 wins. Cleveland comes into this season a bit overvalued in our minds and we’ll take UNDER 9 here.