Speaking of which: Rivalry edition

Speaking of which: Rivalry edition
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This week, the AFC North pits its wares against its most familiar teams, none of whom appear to be serious contenders at this point.  Each team has severe flaws, which were largely exposed last week if not previously.  As we know, though, prior success or failure means nothing in inter-divisional matchups, so let’s “throw out the record books”, as the cliche tells us.  Speaking of which…


The Ravens’ epic embarrassment may well have ruined any success they might have had in 2017, but you wouldn’t know it from the words of wideout Mike Wallace, whose misplaced confidence might be rooted in the fact that he’s had few opportunities to produce this season and has done even less with them.  Speaking of which…


The Steelers are still waiting for all-purpose back Le’Veon Bell to break out, but there’s plenty of blame to go around, as the offensive line hasn’t played particularly well and the passing game (other than wideout Antonio Brown) has been erratic.  The Steelers implied this week that they may try to “streamline” their offense, which means we may see more run-heavy sets.  Speaking of which…


The Browns are a confusing bunch.  The typical method employed to protect and mentor a rookie quarterback is generally to run the ball, sometimes even to the team’s detriment, as it slows the pace of the game and allows the quarterback to use play action and other high-percentage plays to be effective.  Head coach and chief playcaller Hue Jackson has leaned heavily on the passing game, which, given the caliber of the Browns’ current receiving corp, may not be the most prudent approach.  Speaking of which…


Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton needs help beyond wideout A.J. Green.  It doesn’t help that tantalizing-but-oft-injured tight end Tyler Eifert is expected to miss several more weeks, or that no other wideout seems capable of gaining consistent separation, or that the offensive line is providing scant time for Dalton to throw.  The Bengals really need their defense to step up while the offense sorts itself out, and the return of LB Vontaze Burfict should help, provided that Burfict avoids any controversial hits in the meantime.   Speaking of which…


Stand, or kneel, or whatever.  Your choice, and I will never judge or condemn you for it.  Ultimately, it doesn’t change the product on the field, and that, faithful audience, is what I’m going to concentrate on.


Go team and all that.


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