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NFL · 12 days ago

AFC North Buzz: Browns Lose Chubb for Season, Watt Sets Steelers Sack Record

Zachary Cook

Zachary Cook

AFC North Buzz: Browns Lose Chubb for Season, Watt Sets Steelers Sack Record

The AFC North is one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, and there are a lot of takeaways from the first two weeks of action. We look at all four teams.

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Baltimore Ravens (2-0)

The Baltimore Ravens are on top of the AFC through two weeks but have also looked far from world-beaters. In saying that, there have been some encouraging signs, but the injuries this group has compiled are currently overshadowing that.

Lamar Jackson showed more of the quarterback we’re expecting him to be in the Ravens’ Week 2 win over Cincinnati, but there’s undoubtedly another level he can reach. The Ravens are going to continue to run the football, even after a season-ending injury to J.K. Dobbins. Mark Andrews and Zay Flowers have the potential to be a pristine pass-catching duo in the AFC North.

Can the Ravens continue to take this many injury hits and stay atop the division? 

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)

With much hype surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers entering 2023, they fired a dud in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers. In saying that, this also might be a common trend for teams against a loaded 49ers squad on both sides of the football.

The Steelers haven’t been able to move the football at a good enough rate on offense. We have been expecting more from Kenny Pickett in his sophomore season, but how much of the blame on offense goes towards their offensive coordinator, Matt Canada? Steelers fans evidently think a lot, especially if you heard the “Fire Canada” chants at Acrisure Stadium on Monday.

On the bright side, the Steelers might have the best pass-rush duo in the NFL with Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt. The duo wreaked havoc against the Browns, which included Watt setting the Steelers all-time sacks record. Pretty impressive when you dethrone someone as talented as James Harrison

Cleveland Browns (1-1)

It’s no secret that the Cleveland Browns bread and butter revolves around running the football. That mentality may have taken a hit on Monday night after running back Nick Chubb suffered a gruesome injury. Yes, Jerome Ford filled in nicely, but is that sustainable for the rest of the year inside the grueling trenches of AFC North football?

Not only should the Browns be majorly concerned about the injury to their star running back, but there has to be at least some buzz inside Cleveland’s management team about whether they made a mistake by investing so much into Deshaun Watson. The former Houston Texans quarterback has looked slow and has had some very poor reads through two weeks. The expectation was that with an entire offseason of training and learning the playbook, Watson would take a step forward this year. That has yet to be the case, and this has to be a concern moving forward. 

Cincinnati Bengals (0-2)

It’s not time to press the panic button in Cincinnati just yet, but many critics have indeed entered the room where it’s located. Joe Burrow’s calf injury has lingered, and there are question marks about his availability for the Bengals’ upcoming Monday Night Football clash with the Los Angeles Rams.

The Bengals haven’t been winning many battles inside the trenches through two games, and that’s a concern. Still, Cincinnati also started slowly last season, but this has a moderately different feel to it. The Bengals are widely considered a Super Bowl contender, but they certainly haven’t looked the part early on and are digging themselves a hole in a crowded AFC North. 

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