The season’ will feature teams from the AFC North

1. Fierce Competitions. The football world is already familiar with the 20-plus year rivalry between the Steelers and Ravens, but they may not be as familiar with the hatred that the Bengals and Browns share with the rest of the division. Before the Ravens came along, there was a time when the Browns-Steelers were the best rivalry in the formerly named AFC Central, and thanks to the Browns and Bengals returning to contention, this entire division is bringing fuel to the fire of hatred. . Expect the lead-up to every divisional showdown, and HBO and NFL Films cameras will exquisitely capture every bone-rattling victory between each participating team. There’s a reason the AFC North is known as the most brutal division in football, and it’s not just because of the weather. If this group is as close in the standings as it was last season, this Winter Games should produce some of the best displays in history. Hard knocks.

2. Key seasons for two (or three) QBs. Lamar Jackson is coming off his second career NFL MVP, and Joe Burrow is rooting for the Bengals’ franchise quarterback. That leaves both teams with questions to be answered under center. Deshaun Watson returns for Year 3 of his Browns career and hasn’t shown up for his efforts so far, but he’s had a long runway, rehabbing and returning to full strength in an offense that should be as good (at least on paper) as it was last season, when Joe Flacco led Cleveland to unexpected victories. . If Watson is going to prove he’s worth the $230 million he received from the Browns, 2024 would be best. And we all know the uncertainty surrounding the Steelers bringing in both Russell Wilson and Justin Fields. Will Wilson emerge as the Week 1 starter? If so, how long will he be on the job? And how will Fields find a fit if he’s not a starter? Even though this is an offseason documentary and doesn’t focus on training camp, it should be worth watching on its own. If the doubters are right, the HBO/NFL Films crew should be in perfect position to capture the moment Wilson loses his job to Fields.

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3. Attempt to secure the throne of Baltimore. The Ravens finished the 2023 regular season on a high note, which helped bolster Jackson’s campaign for his second MVP. Jackson was far from the only star, though, and for a team that emerged from the regular season as a heavy favorite to take the AFC crown, we figured Baltimore didn’t have a chance until the clock hit three zeroes. Be in the Super Bowl. As the calendar turns to 2024, the Ravens have looked like a juggernaut, and there’s no reason — other than coaching staff losses — they can’t repeat that performance this season. Derrick Henry and a draft focused on depth should make them favorites again this fall, but don’t expect the rest of the division to let up. Every team in this division hopes this is their year.

4. Joe Burrow’s Bengals return? Cincinnati had a bad season in the 2023 season as its quarterback was only healthy for a month. Burrow started the season like a statue due to a preseason injury in training camp, then suddenly rediscovered his fitness, lighting up the Cardinals for 317 yards and three touchdowns in Week 5, according to Cincinnati’s official announcement. Its return. People on the Ohio River are still wondering what might have been if he hadn’t suffered a season-ending injury in Week 10, but now that he’s healthy again, they have every reason to be excited about what 2024 holds. He was Burrow’s biggest opponent, and as long as he avoids the injury bug, the Bengals should be in the thick of the AFC North. If he is on top of his game, he can lead Bengal back to the division throne.

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