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A New AFC North...Hypothetically Speaking

The Cleveland Browns are in the AFC North with the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. Since these are the four teams in the division, it has created a lot of rivalries. Some of these rivalries include: Browns vs Ravens. Ravens vs Steelers, Browns vs Steelers, Ravens vs Bengals, etc. This division has been really fun and extremely competitive. However, I started thinking about a hypothetical scenario the other day. What if the AFC North was completely reshaped and three new teams came into the division to replace the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Pittsburgh Steelers? Who would those three new teams be? I take a fun, fantasy approach to creating my new AFC North.

Again, this is all just hypothetical and it is never going to actually happen. But if I had the power to reshape the AFC North, I would kick out Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. Who would I replace them with? The Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, and the Minnesota Vikings.

First of all, I’ve been asking for the Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns to be in the same division for a long time now. Since 1992, the Colts and Browns have played close games. Playing close games in turn produces excitement, additionally, it can create discontent. The last few times I’ve watched these two teams play each other, it felt like a rivalry was brewing. The other reason is because the reputation of the AFC North right now is that it’s a blue-collar defensive-minded division where you need to bring your hard hat every week. The Colts fit that description perfectly.

Second, I think the Minnesota Vikings would make a good addition to the division. They also fit the style of the AFC North. I’m still trying to maintain the reputation of the actual AFC North in my hypothetical division. The Vikings play a very run heavy style of football which would work perfectly in the new division given that Indianapolis and Cleveland play identical styles. Being that the Vikings and Lions are already familiar with one another since they’re in the NFC North, there wouldn’t be any type of learning curve. I don’t think there would be too much of a learning curve for the Vikings going against Indy or CLE because again, the three teams are so similar that it would be like looking in a mirror.

The Detroit Lions are the only ones who don’t fit the prototypical AFC North mold. In my opinion, they’re not a blue-collar defensive-minded type of team. Based off of what I saw from them, they don’t appear to be a run the ball first type of team either. But that’s a good thing because it would create a different dynamic that the Colts and Browns would have to adjust to on a consistent basis. Minnesota wouldn’t need to adjust because of the familiarization of being the same division with Detroit.

But what about the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Baltimore Ravens? First, the Packers, Bears, Bengals, and Steelers would become the new NFC North. Second, the Ravens would move into the AFC East. Third, the Miami Dolphins would move to the AFC South.

Again, I know that none of this is going to actually happen. But if the NFL ever wanted to spice things up, I think this would be a good solution.

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