AFC North

AFC North

Speaking of which: Week 2 edition

Speaking of which: Week 2 edition
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So we made it through the ugliness of the routinely defense-dominated week 1 slate of NFL games.  It’s become a truism that defenses are ahead of offenses right out of training camp, which almost lends itself to the (fictional) argument that perhaps the preseason should be longer to allow things to balance out. Week 1 provides a lot of illusions to be sure, so let’s table those lofty predictions of the Kansas City Chiefs being Super Bowl favorites for now.  We’ll spend our time on the rather unspectacular play of the AFC North instead.  Speaking of which…

 

The Cleveland Browns, despite losing, appeared competitive against the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers.  Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer didn’t embarrass himself, although he certainly could have used more support from his running game and feature back Isaiah Crowell.  Speaking of which…

 

The Baltimore Ravens are also heavily favored against the Browns this week, and M&T Bank Stadium has been notoriously cruel to visiting rookie quarterbacks in recent years.  If Crowell doesn’t provide some cover for Kizer, he could be in for a long and difficult Sunday, although it says here that this game will be much closer than the current Las Vegas projections (Balt +7.5).  Speaking of which…

 

After a substandard home outing against the Ravens, the Cincinnati Bengals will get a chance to push the reset button at home tonight against the Houston Texans (8:25 pm, NFLN).  There hasn’t been a lot of talk emanating from the Bengals besides the usual platitudes regarding “getting better”, which they sorely need to do, particularly quarterback Andy Dalton, if they have any hopes of producing a winning record in 2017.  Speaking of which…

 

As mentioned above, the Steelers notched their first win against the Browns, although it wasn’t in the spectacular fashion that their fans have come to expect.  With the exception of wideout Antonio Brown, the Steelers looked largely pedestrian, although credit must be given to an improved Browns defense.  The Steelers aim to improve against the Minnesota Vikings this week, who sport an excellent defense of their own and a resurgent offense.  Speaking of which…

 

The Ravens leaned heavily on their offensive line and running game last week in closing out the Bengals, requiring very little from quarterback Joe Flacco, who’s supposedly still recovering from the back injury that sidelined him for all of training camp.  The Ravens certainly have experience with this sort of offense, having employed it at various times over the years, and one wonders if Flacco will remain a “game manager”, as many have clamored for in recent years.

 

Enjoy the games and the weekend, folks.

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