Aaron Schatz from Football Outsiders writes that the Baltimore Ravens will finish atop the division with a 9-7 record. He mentions that the schedule gets much harder this season for the Ravens but that they finished 2012 with a pretty good adjusted rating for their opponent's strength. However, he did mention that the Ravens as well as the rest of the AFC North are likely to see more injuries this season despite all the injuries being concentrated for them last year in the secondary.
The Steelers come up next at 8-8 followed by the Bengals with the same record. Finishing up last is the Browns who are handing the reigns to Josh McCown at quarterback. I'm sure that few Ravens' fans are surprised to see the standings be like this based on what we all know about the teams at this point. However, injuries at any time can make a serious impact on the final records.
I've listed what Aaron wrote about the AFC North battle below in all it's glory.
Baltimore Ravens: 9-7 (9.0 mean wins; SOS: 14)
Pittsburgh Steelers: 8-8 (8.4 mean wins; SOS: 3)
Cincinnati Bengals: 8-8 (7.5 mean wins; SOS: 6)
Cleveland Browns: 5-11 (5.0 mean wins; SOS: 7)
The conventional narrative says that three AFC North teams rode into the 2014 playoffs thanks in part to an easy schedule built on the two South divisions. That's partially true; Pittsburgh and Baltimore ranked 29th and 30th in average DVOA of opponent last season. However, the AFC North teams were also pretty good even after adjusting for opponent strength. Baltimore finished fifth in overall DVOA, Pittsburgh was eighth and Cincinnati was 12th.
If those teams carry over that same performance, they are still going to end up with fewer wins because the schedule gets much harder this year. Instead of the South divisions, these teams get the two West divisions in 2015. They still each play one team from the AFC South, and those games actually make a big difference in the projected mean wins, because Baltimore gets to play Jacksonville while Pittsburgh and Cincinnati have to face Indianapolis and Houston, respectively. (All three of these games are home games for the AFC North teams.)
These teams are also likely to deal with more injuries this year. The Steelers had the fewest offensive adjusted games lost of any team last season and the Bengals were abnormally healthy on defense. The Ravens were actually a little healthier than average on both sides of the ball, though it was hard to tell because all the defensive injuries seemed to be grouped at a single position (cornerback).
What might be more interesting is how the playoff race will fair out along the rest of the AFC.
Obviously, the Ravens have an automatic in by being the division leader along with the Dolphins, Colts and Broncos. However, with 6 other teams that have records equal to or better than the Ravens, it will create quite a battle at the top come playoff seeding time.