Expect Physical Games, High Ticket Prices When AFC North Foes Square Off
Over the next two weeks, TiqIQ and Razorgator will break down ticket prices for each NFL conference ahead of the 2016 season. This week, we'll look at the AFC and each team within.
The start of the NFL season is less than five weeks away, which means that players and coaches are eagerly preparing for the start of the season while fans start securing tickets for their favorite teams. In the AFC North, the Cincinnati Bengals will seek to defend their divisional crown against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, and Cleveland Browns. Previews for each team are presented below.
While Cincinnati (12-4) played extremely well during the regular season, playoff blunders stick in the minds of its fans. In its postseason Wild Card Game against Pittsburgh, Cincinnati rallied from a 15-0 deficit to take a late-game lead, but stupid penalties by Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict gave the game away. Cincinnati will have to wait until December 18 for another home meeting against Pittsburgh at Paul Brown Stadium, but fans can lock up tickets today by checking out Razorgator., where Steelers vs. Bengals tickets start at $68. Fans driving to the game can also find cheap parking options for Paul Brown Stadium parking on ParkWhiz.com. Entering the 2016 season, Cincinnati opted to change some of their supporting cast, but the main difference makers return. Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones left via free agency, but were replaced with Brandon LaFell and rookie Tyler Boyd. Safety Reggie Nelson also departed in free agency. There are some questions surrounding Tyler Eifert’s ankle, so expect AJ Green to be the focal point of the offense for the early part of the season. Cincinnati once again has playoff expectations, but fans (and management) desperately seek a playoff win.
Pittsburgh (10-6), a team that earned a Wild Card berth last season, had a turbulent 2015 season that was capped off with an unfortunate loss in Denver in the AFC Divisional Round. Early in the season, Pittsburgh lost Le’Veon Bell to a torn ACL and one of Bell’s backups, Fitzgerald Toussaint, fumbled away a potential road playoff win in Denver. Pittsburgh will start the season without Bell, who is serving a four-game suspension. Prior to Bell’s suspension, Pittsburgh lost Martavis Bryant to a season-long, drug-related suspension. Once again, the offensive workload will fall on the shoulders of Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. Pittsburgh has intense rivalries against all AFC North foes, but it’s rivalry with Cincinnati has intensified in recent years. In Week 3, Pittsburgh will welcome Cincinnati to Heinz Field and tickets are commanding premiums on the secondary market. On Razorgator, Bengals vs. Steelers tickets start at $125.
Baltimore (5-11) struggled with a multitude of injuries last season, but will look to bounce back in 2016. The Ravens opted to retool its offense by signing Mike Wallace and Ben Watson to a core that already features Joe Flacco, Steve Smith, and Terrell Suggs. Baltimore’s main core is rapidly aging, but this group of players is experienced and plays with a lot of pride. The club’s most expensive home game, in terms of get-in ticket price, is a home tilt against the rival in Steelers on November 6. The get-in price for this game is $125.
Cleveland (3-13) once again finished last in the AFC North, but a retooled coaching staff, front office and strong draft class has many feeling optimistic. Ex-Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson accepted Cleveland’s head-coaching position and will look to bring over principles that made Cincinnati’s offense successful. In addition, Cleveland hired baseball guru, Paul DePodesta to oversee its personnel decisions. With DePodesta in the fold, Cleveland opted to trade down in the NFL Draft in an effort to acquire more picks. Cleveland added wide receiver Corey Coleman in the NFL Draft, so look for him to make an instant impact for new quarterback Robert Griffin III, not to mention Josh Gordon when he is expected to return in Week 5. Expectations are not high for the franchise this year but there’s more pieces in place now to make a run and surprise the majority.