Training camps have started to open around the league. It’s the season for optimists, and fans in the AFC North have plenty of reasons to be excited. The AFC North has been one of the best and most competitive divisions in football the last several years. Last year the Cincinnati Bengals made the postseason, and the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers fought for a playoff spot till the final week. This season it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Cleveland Browns throw their hat in the ring. The AFC North also has some highly priced games on the secondary market.
Baltimore Ravens | Avg. Price: $220.42
Just two seasons ago the Ravens won the Super Bowl, but last season all that guaranteed was the Ravens schedule would be a tough one. Add in tons of personnel turnover for a team up against the salary cap, and the Ravens slogged their way to an 8-8 record. But the Ravens defense came together as the season went along, and they added in depth in May’s NFL Draft. They upgraded at offensive coordinator as well, hiring former Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, arguably the top name on the market. Not to mention the addition of receiver Steve Smith, and the healthy return of tight end Dennis Pitta. Ravens tickets have the highest average in the division at $220.42.
Pittsburgh Steelers | Avg. Price: $219.58
The Steelers are one of the best-run franchises in football. They have been the class of the AFC North for a while, and have formed one of the league’s best rivalries with the Ravens over the last decade. So it’s not shocking to see them neck-and-neck in terms of ticket pricing as well. The Steelers ticket average is within a dollar of the Ravens at $219.58. As expected the Ravens appearance on the Steelers schedule will be one of the most expensive ticket of the season. The Steelers finished an identical 8-8 with the Ravens, but that was after a 0-4 start to the season. They were a Chargers week 17 loss away from making the postseason too. Former Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell established himself over the second half of the season, and gives the Steelers balance to an offense that fits more in line with the classic Steelers mentality. They will certainly be a threat this year.
Cincinnati Bengals | Avg. Price: $162.44
The two Ohio teams see average prices below $200. There’s just a $162.44 average a ticket for home games on the Bengals schedule despite making the postseason the last three years, and coming off a division title. Last season the Bengals had one of the most talented teams in the entire league. Injuries to star players and questions surrounding the effectiveness of quarterback Andy Dalton kept them from being elite. In the offseason their offensive and defensive coordinators left to be head coaches with other teams in the league. Still, if Dalton can take a step forward in an offense surrounded by talent, and led by one of the best three receivers in football, the team could be even better than they were last year.
Cleveland Browns | Avg. Price: $140.09
The Browns might have had the most exciting offseason of any team in the division. Over 2,000 season tickets sold moments after the Browns traded up with their second first-round pick to nab Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. The Browns have been building in the right direction and have one of the elite front sevens in the league. They also drafted a top corner in the draft in Justin Gilbert to team with Pro Bowler Joe Haden. Offensively they might be without breakout star Josh Gordon at receiver with an impending suspension on its way, and there’s no telling when Manziel will make his debut on the Browns schedule. But if Manziel impresses in training camp, and can rekindle the magic he showed at his two seasons at College Station, the Browns will certainly be exciting. They may even manage to make a playoff push, and that would make their average price of $140.09 seem like a steal.
JAN 30 Joel Corry
A look at the nominees and the potential inductees.
JAN 28 The Sports Quotient
A look at playcalling in Super Bowl history.
JAN 20 Tony Villiotti
Following Monday's announcement of those declaring for the Draft, a look at the numbers.