AFC North

AFC North

Speaking of which…

Speaking of which…
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Ugly?  For some, absolutely.  For Clevelanders, assuredly not.

 

This past weekend offered some very different results than what fans are accustomed to.  Three close losses by the Steelers, Ravens and Bengals and one win by the Browns (apparently this hasn’t happened since the Paleozoic Era) have served to tighten up the AFC playoff race considerably.  The Steelers remain a half game ahead of the Ravens, the Browns might be playing their best football of the season, and the Bengals…well, they tried.  Speaking of which…

 

Recently-extended kicker Chris Boswell may have botched what may well be his last field goal attempt for the Steelers, to say nothing of his problems with the new extra point distance.  The Steelers are reportedly shopping for a new kicker, although the prospects aren’t exactly encouraging.  One wonders if Boswell’s recent malaise is permanent, or if he’s simply going through a tough stretch.  The Steelers, suddenly fighting for their playoff lives, can’t afford to wait to find out.  Speaking of which…

 

The Ravens are taking no solace in the fact that they played well against the Chiefs in their 27-24 loss in Kansas City last Sunday, expressing mostly disappointment, but also showing confidence after a wild game in which they had a tenuous lead until a disastrous defensive showing on a 4th and 9 Kansas City conversion on the Chiefs’ final drive in regulation.  Despite the setback, the team is under no illusions about what it will take to get into the playoffs and appear to be resolved to do so; this Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers will be a good indication of their direction going forward.  Speaking of which…

 

The Bengals turned in a respectable showing against the playoff-hopeful Chargers, only to fall late.  Head coach Marvin Lewis, in an uncharacteristic display of accountability acknowledged his gaffes in calling for two 2-point conversions following touchdowns, both of which failed.  While the Bengals’ descent into mediocrity this season isn’t entirely Lewis’ fault, the fact that he pushed for two-point conversions in the first place shows, perhaps, his desperation over what’s become a lost season and a possible taint on Lewis’ coaching record.  It’s an oft-repeated projection, but this offseason should be very interesting in Cincinnati…maybe.  Speaking of which…

 

The 2019 offseason may actually be more important than the Browns’ previous few in terms of team direction.  Having established some success, and especially having finally secured a solid, reliable quarterback, the Browns can now turn to other matters, such as the depth chart and coaching considerations.  So much attention has been given to the Browns’ rebuilding core positions the last few years that it’s almost unfathomable that they’ll be in the market for marquee free agents, but with a wealth of salary cap space, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t be.

 

Enjoy the week!

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