AFC North

AFC North

Speaking of Which…

Will he show up this week? Nahh...
Speaking of Which…
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We’re six games in.

 

Six games is usually more than sufficient to evaluate a team.  This includes every aspect of a team – all three phases, coaching, scouting, roster depth, injuries, ownership, etc.   Given the general weirdness and inconsistency in the NFL this season,  though, evaluating teams isn’t that easy.  In our beloved AFC North, it’s proving to be nearly impossible.  Speaking of which…

 

The Steelers have yet to establish a defensive identity.  Their games plans have varied widely after professing publicly to emphasize the pass rush; they’ve had no problem getting after opposing passers, but their secondary has been exposed repeatedly to the tune of 305 yards allowed per game.  To address this, an unsubstantiated rumor has the Steelers pursuing all-pro CB Patrick Peterson in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals, who are careening towards a complete rebuild in 2019.  Speaking of which…

 

The Browns are clearly better this season, but it’s tough to gauge where they are overall.  While they’ve been able to establish their defense in most of their games, there was little stopping the Chargers from moving the ball effectively this past Sunday.  Despite this, most observers think the defensive roster is nearly complete, and expect the team to concentrate on wide receivers and offensive linemen in the 2019 draft.  There’s also the matter of  head coach Hue Jackson and his decision making, which has been spotty at best.  Speaking of which…

 

The Bengals are a mass of inconsistency this season.  While they’re still mentioned prominently in most playoff projections, the Bengals still retain a maddening tendency to do the wrong thing, even when they’re in a position to succeed.  Case in point: After the two-minute warning, few coaches would have attempted to score immediately in a goal line scenario with the other team still holding all of their timeouts and aided by an all-pro quarterback and wideout, yet that’s exactly what the Bengals did, sending running back Joe Mixon up the middle for a touchdown and allowing the Steelers enough time (1:18 on the game clock) for a comfortable final drive.  A couple of failed runs up the middle would have, at minimum, forced the Steelers to use a couple of timeouts, thereby decreasing their chances of a scoring opportunity.  It’s one thing to trust your defense, but another to give them every opportunity to fail.  Speaking of which…

 

Much ado about the Ravens’ 11-sack performance on Sunday led defensive end Terrell Suggs to uncharacteristically preach caution and prudence, adding that the Ravens have yet to face their toughest stretch.  Given that the Ravens invested a lot of time and money in revamping their offense this past offseason, the onus seems to be on quarterback Joe Flacco and his new targets to deliver some wins, as the defense can’t be counted on to produce at a record-setting level every week.  This week’s game against the Saints and iconic quarterback Drew Brees will be an excellent test of all phases.

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