By Mike Prisuta
Sunday, September 24, 2006
The first, in what should be a series of six marquee games, will be played today at Heinz Field, when the Cincinnati Bengals visit the Steelers.
It's the first elite-vs.-elite meeting in the AFC North Division, and it ought to be something to see, as it should when the Bengals and Ravens, and the Ravens and Steelers get together.
Can it get any better than that?
Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer thinks not.
"Everybody keeps talking about the NFC East being the toughest division," Palmer said. "I think we can go pound for pound with them. I think we can give any division a run for their money."
Palmer included the woeful Browns in his presentation for AFC North superiority -- "They're going to win a lot of games this year." -- which reveals that perhaps wide receiver Chad Johnson wasn't the only Bengals player knocked "a little loopy" last Sunday.
Still, the point is well taken.
The NFC East is the national media darling, mostly because New York, Philadelphia, Dallas and Washington are more heavily populated and more interesting places than Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Baltimore.
But the AFC North remains the place where the best football will be played this season.