AFC North Afternoon Roundup

AFC North Afternoon Roundup
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I’m not sure what the football pose is, but I think she is signaling that two AFC North teams have a shot at 3-0 by Sunday evening.

It was a big week number two in the AFC North, as the teams went head-to-head for the first time this season. It was not without controversy or pain (mentally and physically) as another QB was lost, and both intra-divisional games may have been influenced by some poor judgement from our friends in zebra clothing.


With that said, here’s a positive outlook on our AFC North combatants.  Enjoy.



Baltimore Ravens


The Ravens have fortified their defensive line through recent drafts, and may have found their future star in undrafted Michael Pierce.


My Take:  I watched this unknown, large individual in early preseason games and found myself pulling for him because of his story (somewhat mentioned in the article), and the fact that this nobody was destroying opposing centers and guards, albeit 3rd stringers. He then played against 2nd, and now 1st string offensive lineman with much of the same result. Although the Ravens defense has given up some big plays, it hasn’t been due to Pierce. As a matter of fact, he allows the Ravens to rush just 4 when he is on the field. Its early in the season, but so far he has been the one of the early stars on defense.



Cleveland Browns

Another week, another Browns starting quarterback.


My Take:  Can their actually be silver lining when losing two starting quarterbacks in successive weeks? Well, in Cleveland there has to be, right? The Browns 3rd round draft pick has a chance to prove himself. The bad news is he will be facing a Dolphins team who gets after the quarterback. They have 5 sacks and are 3 off the league lead with 13 QB hurries. The good news is, the Dolphins are suseptible to getting burned. If the Browns offensive line can give him a little time, he may enjoy himself a nice debut.
Note: The Ravens are leading the NFL in pass defense, so take 2 weeks of defensive stats for what they’re worth.



Cincinnati Bengals


It’s not always the refs fault. Sometimes (like most of the time), play-calling and execution have a hand in a game’s outcome, like the fact that the Bengals handed the ball off on 16 of 73 plays Sunday and scored just 16 points.


My Take: In fairness, the Bengals aren’t executing in the run game, at least when they hand off to Jeremy Hill (2.65 YPC compared to 4.1 YPC for Giovani Bernard). However, they do have the horses. This type of discrepancy is generally seen when a team is getting blown out, or if a team has no running ability. Sure, they trailed the Steelers throughout, but were one score down for 53 of the 60 minutes. Last week their game was tight from start to finish and they handed the ball to running backs on just 14 of 56 plays. Perhaps its time to promote Bernard to the primary back until Hill finds his legs? Add a dynamic running game to three top wide receivers, and the Bengals may reverse the struggles on (scoring) offense.



Pittsburgh Steelers


The Steelers may have their challenges when it comes to the NFL draft, but not when choosing a wide receiver.


My Take:  Out goes Martavis Bryant due to suspension? Just plug in Sammie Coates who had one catch last year. Can it be that easy for Pittsburgh? Their ability to plug in wide receivers is like the Patriots ability to plug in quarterbacks. Sure it is a little early to discuss Sammie Coates as a draft success, but he already has three dynamic down-field catches in the first two games of 2016. I expect plenty more with his speed, and Bryant may have to fight for playing time when he returns.

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