The AFC North was the only division to send 3 teams to playoffs. To no surprise, the Browns were the one club left out. Here are potential 2015 traps for AFC North teams & early opponent game odds.
Baltimore Ravens +160 to win North at Bovada
Week 2 at Raiders (+5): This entirely depends on what happens Week 1 in Denver for Baltimore. Should the Ravens go into the Mile High City and upset Peyton Manning and Co., how will they not be a bit flat for an expected walkover in Oakland? Plus will the Ravens fly back to the East Coast, practice, and head back to the West Coast? That can have an effect. If the Ravens lose to Denver, then there shouldn't be any lack of focus here because it's so hard for 0-2 teams to make the playoffs.
Week 5 vs. Browns (+7): This looks like a sandwich game to me. In Week 3 the Ravens have a big AFC North game against Cincinnati and then a short turnaround in Week 4 at Pittsburgh. Even with the extra few days off, you know the Ravens will be banged up. And following Cleveland is another trip to the West Coast against the 49ers in a recent Super Bowl rematch (but no Harbaugh Bowl rematch).
Week 10 vs. Jaguars (+10.5): Jags are just about everyone's trap game. My only concern here is the Ravens treat this is a gimme coming out of their bye week. They may be too well-coached for that, however.
Cincinnati Bengals +220 to win North at Bovada
Week 6 at Bills (-1): Buffalo is a pretty good team and should have a great defense again. This game concerns me as it follows what is likely to be an extremely physical Week 6 home game vs. Seattle for the Bengals, which might be a Super Bowl preview.
Week 9 vs. Browns (+2.5): OK, some might argue that this rivalry is void of any potential letdown games. All I'm saying is that last year in Week 10 on a Thursday at home, the Bengals totally played flat in a 24-3 loss to the Browns that was one of their worst defeats of the year and in this series in a long time. This game is also on Thursday and follows a brutal trip to Pittsburgh for Cincinnati.
Week 15 at 49ers (-3): This trip to the West Coast also follows a Pittsburgh game for the Bengals. And following the San Francisco 49ers is a trip to Denver, which might have home-field advantage implications in the AFC playoffs.
Pittsburgh Steelers +220 to win North at Sports Interaction
Week 2 vs. 49ers (+2.5): How focused Pittsburgh is here totally will depend on the Thursday night season opener at New England. Upset the defending Super Bowl champions and you already are feeling so good that you might sleepwalk a bit through your home opener against a 49ers team you haven't seen in years. Plus still no Le'Veon Bell here for the Steelers.
Week 6 vs. Cardinals (+2.5): This is sandwiched between tough road game for the Steelers: at San Diego in Week 5 on a Monday (short week, plus travel across country) and then at Kansas City in Week 7.
Week 9 vs. Raiders (+9.5): Oakland is going to show up on a lot of these. Why I might worry as a Steelers backer here is certainly this will be the biggest the team will be favored. But it's caught in between home division games vs. the Bengals (Week 8) and Browns (Week 10).
Cleveland Browns +900 to win North at Heritage
Week 2 vs. Titans (+4.5): True, Cleveland probably not good enough to overlook any team, but I at least want to mention these two games because it may be the only two times the Browns are favored in 2015. I think the Browns could overlook Tennessee no matter what happens in Week 1 at the Jets for Cleveland because it's easy to be overconfident in your home opener against perhaps the NFL's worst team that likely will be starting a rookie QB in Marcus Mariota.
Week 3 vs. Raiders (+4.5): Can you imagine if the Browns start 2-0? Wouldn't it be typical of the team to then lose this game? The Raiders aren't going 0-16 and they probably would feel confident here. Plus following this, Cleveland has two very tough road games in San Diego and Baltimore. Easy to take Raiders for granted.