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AFC North Preview -- 2013

The Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl ... then promptly let a number of players leave, many on the defensive side. Will this open things up for the longtime division stalwart Pittsburgh Steelers or the upstart Cincinnati Bengals?

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  • Which team will win the AFC North?

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      48%
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      5%
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      30%
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      17%

    Discuss (Total votes: 35,309)

  • How much will the departures of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe, Bernard Pollard et al hurt the Ravens' defense this season?

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      82%
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      18%

    Discuss (Total votes: 10,773)

  • Is Joe Flacco an elite quarterback?

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      30%
    •  
      70%

    Discuss (Total votes: 72,863)

  • Will Ben Roethlisberger reach another Super Bowl as the Steelers' starting quarterback?

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      26%
    •  
      74%

    Discuss (Total votes: 10,715)

  • Who is the best coach in the AFC North?

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      58%
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      9%
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      33%

    Discuss (Total votes: 10,290)

  • When will the Browns next make the playoffs?

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      7%
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      26%
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      67%

    Discuss (Total votes: 15,917)

Comment »

How does SportsNation see Super Bowl XLVII playing out? As NFL experts everywhere attempt to forecast which players will deliver big performances on football's biggest stage, we're asking SportsNation to join in on the fun. Do you think Colin Kaepernick will score a rushing touchdown? How will Ray Rice fare against the 49ers' stout defense? Will Ray Lewis do his squirrel dance when the clock hits 00:00? Cast your votes!


Ray, running wild

So far this postseason, Ray Rice has rushed for 247 yards and two touchdowns, including a 131-yard effort against the Broncos.

SportsNation

Will Ray Rice rush for over/under 67.5 yards?

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    73%
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    27%

Discuss (Total votes: 14,995)


Can't catch Kap!

Colin Kaepernick is fast ... really fast. In two postseason starts, he has burned teams for 202 yards and two rushing TDs.

SportsNation

Will Colin Kaepernick score a rushing touchdown?

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    76%
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    24%

Discuss (Total votes: 15,085)


Not your average Joe

Don't call him Fluke-O anymore. In this postseason, Joe Flacco has thrown eight touchdown passes and no interceptions.

SportsNation

Will Joe Flacco throw over/under 1.5 touchdown passes?

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    76%
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    24%

Discuss (Total votes: 14,905)


Moss on the mike

Randy Moss made it clear that he considers himself the GOAT, but he's been an afterthought in the 49ers' offensive system this season with only 28 catches.

SportsNation

Will Randy Moss catch over/under 2.5 passes?

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    49%
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    51%

Discuss (Total votes: 14,937)


Lewis' last ride

Since his incredible return Jan. 6 from a torn triceps injury, Ray Lewis has averaged more than 14 tackles/assists per game.

SportsNation

Will Ray Lewis record over/under 11.5 tackles and assists?

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    41%
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    59%

Discuss (Total votes: 14,762)

Comment »

Media day is usually notable for dumb questions and sad attempts at wacky gimmicks from bored reporters, but Tuesday some actual headlines were generated in and out of football. Ray Lewis denied a Sports Illustrated report that he had recently used performance-enhancing drugs to recover from an injury, while Alex Rodriguez's name appeared on a Miami clinic's list of players to whom it had supposedly delivered banned substances. Lewis is getting ready to play in the Super Bowl, while Rodriguez is rehabbing from an injury, but it's certain that these allegations have their attention -- as well as ours.


A sideshow for Lewis?

Ray Lewis' focus has never been called into question, but when you're trying to get ready for the Super Bowl, allegations of PED use probably don't help your concentration.

SportsNation

How big of a distraction will allegations of PED use be for Ray Lewis this week?

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    20%
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    38%
  •  
    42%

Discuss (Total votes: 20,645)


Moss or Lewis?

Randy Moss claimed to be the best receiver of all time during his media day session, a much lighter topic than what Lewis had to address.

SportsNation

Which was the bigger headline from Super Bowl media day?

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    64%
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    36%

Discuss (Total votes: 104,458)


A bigger problem?

Both MLB and the NFL have had issues with PEDs in the past, but neither league seems to have gotten rid of the problem completely.

SportsNation

Which league do you think has a higher percentage of PED usage?

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    58%
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    42%

Discuss (Total votes: 159,736)


Is A-Rod done with the Yankees?

The Yankees still owe Alex Rodriguez more than $100 million, which is a bit of a burden to bear considering his declining production and possible role as a media distraction.

SportsNation

The Yankees are reportedly looking into voiding Alex Rodriguez's contract. Will Rodriguez ever play another game for the Yankees?

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    32%
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    68%

Discuss (Total votes: 55,537)


A good deal?

Alex Rodriguez put up some MVP-caliber years with the Yankees, but it hasn't been all sunshine and roses in New York; see his PED allegations and notable playoff failures.

SportsNation

Considering both his contract and performance, what has Alex Rodriguez been to the Yankees?

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    27%
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    73%

Discuss (Total votes: 73,954)

Comment »

The Super Bowl XLVII matchup is set with the Ravens and 49ers squaring off in New Orleans on Feb. 3. Ray Lewis will be there for the final game of his storied 17-year career with the Ravens, as will Colin Kaepernick making just his 10th career start at quarterback for the 49ers. Throw in some top-notch wide receivers (Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree), tight ends (Vernon Davis, Dennis Pitta) and running backs (Frank Gore, Ray Rice) and we've got a pretty even matchup, with SportsNation giving the slight edge to the Niners. How do the best players in the Super Bowl stack up? Click the images to cast your votes.

Super Bowl XLVII players

Anquan Boldin

Anquan Boldin

Ravens WR

Michael Crabtree

Michael Crabtree

49ers WR

Vernon Davis

Vernon Davis

49ers TE

Joe Flacco

Joe Flacco

Ravens QB

Frank Gore

Frank Gore

49ers RB

Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick

49ers QB

Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis

Ravens LB

Dennis Pitta

Dennis Pitta

Ravens TE

Ray Rice

Ray Rice

Ravens RB

Aldon Smith

Aldon Smith

49ers LB

Torrey Smith

Torrey Smith

Ravens WR

Patrick Willis

Patrick Willis

49ers LB

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We may not have the Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning matchup in the AFC Championship Game much of SportsNation wanted to see, but both championship games are loaded with talent. Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez are hoping to end their careers on top, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is two games away from winning a Super Bowl in his 10th career start, and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan's 0-for-3 record in the playoffs is history after a thrilling 30-28 victory over the Seahawks. How do the best players remaining in the NFL playoffs stack up? Click the images to vote.

Super Bowl XLVII players

John Abraham

John Abraham

Falcons DE

Anquan Boldin

Anquan Boldin

Ravens WR

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Patriots QB

Michael Crabtree

Michael Crabtree

49ers WR

Vernon Davis

Vernon Davis

49ers TE

Joe Flacco

Joe Flacco

Ravens QB

Tony Gonzalez

Tony Gonzalez

Falcons TE

Frank Gore

Frank Gore

49ers RB

Julio Jones

Julio Jones

Falcons WR

Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick

49ers QB

Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis

Ravens LB

Brandon Lloyd

Brandon Lloyd

Patriots WR

Jerod Mayo

Jerod Mayo

Patriots LB

Dennis Pitta

Dennis Pitta

Ravens TE

Ray Rice

Ray Rice

Ravens RB

Stevan Ridley

Stevan Ridley

Patriots RB

Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan

Falcons QB

Aldon Smith

Aldon Smith

49ers LB

Torrey Smith

Torrey Smith

Ravens WR

Michael Turner

Michael Turner

Falcons RB

Wes Welker

Wes Welker

Patriots WR

Roddy White

Roddy White

Falcons WR

Patrick Willis

Patrick Willis

49ers LB

Danny Woodhead

Danny Woodhead

Patriots RB

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