State of the AFC North: NFL Week 5 Edition

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore was in for a bit more of a challenge than most expected going into their week five prime-time matchup with the Indianapolis Colts this past Monday. Baltimore found themselves down 19 whole points with a little over three minutes left in the third quarter in what I for sure thought would be a Colts victory. The Ravens were supported by career days from TE Mark Andrews (11rec 147yds and two touchdowns), WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown (9/125/2) and to top it off, QB Lamar Jackson put on a clinic in the second half going 20-22 passing on their last three scoring drives en route to a 442 yard, four touchdown performance along with 62 yards on the ground. The Ravens welcome the young and hungry LA Chargers to Baltimore this Sunday in a matchup of 4-1 MVP candidates in Lamar Jackson and Chargers front man Justin Herbert.

Current record- 4-1

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals faced the Green Bay Packers in a game that is sure to give to give NFL kickers PTSD. Cincinnati got the first score of the game before surrendering the next 16 points to the Packers. Rookie wideout Ja’Maar Chase continued his march toward the Offensive Rookie of the Year award with a stellar six catch, 159 yard game with a big 70 yard score right before halftime. Coming into the game, the Bengals knew slowing down the duo of Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams was going to be a tough task and boy did that turn out to be the case. Adams continually had his way with the Cincinnati secondary finishing the contest with an amazing 11/206/1 stat line.  The final ten or so minutes of game play was some of the most bizarre I’ve ever seen. Packers kicker Mason Crosby missed his first attempt since 2019 and added two more misses while Bengals rookie kicker Evan McPhereson missed two kicks late in overtime, which allowed Crosby one last opportunity to nail the game winner with just over a minute left in OT. QB Joe Burrow took a nasty hit late in the game that had fans fearing the worst, thankfully, he got up and finished the game. He was later examined for a throat contusion and appears to be good to go for the Bengals game against the Lions Sunday.

Current record- 3-2

Cleveland Browns

The Browns, fresh off of one of the most uneventful games of the season last week in their 14-7 victory over Minnesota, found themselves in a high scoring shootout with the LA Chargers. This game was the perfect example of “anybody’s game” as there were eight lead changes throughout this one with LA coming out on with the 47-42 victory behind 26 fourth quarter points. This game was the one of the most exciting I’ve seen up to this point in the season as both offenses were running smoothly the majority of the game. Browns QB Baker Mayfield (23/32, 305, 2td) fell just short in the duel against second year star QB Justin Herbert (26-/43, 398,4td) with the game ending in a wild sequence that saw Cleveland literally drag Chargers RB Austin Eckler into the end-zone in the game’s final two minutes. Even in the loss Cleveland maintained their dominance in the running game, piling up 230 rushing yards with Nick Chubb leading the way with 161 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown while his running mate Kareem Hunt added two touchdowns to his 61 yards. The Browns will need that same kind of production from the offense if they expect to hand the Arizona Cardinals their first loss of the season on Sunday.

Current record- 3-2

Pittsburgh Steelers

This week’s edition of the Ben Roethlisberger Retirement Tour saw the Steelers turn back the clocks and put on a performance reminiscent of the team that got off to an 11-0 start last season. The Steelers leaned heavily on their run game and the Denver Broncos had no answer for rookie RB Najee Harris who had the best game of his young career. Finishing with 122 of Pittsburgh’s 147 yards on the ground, Harris routinely gashed the Broncos defense. The Steelers are going to be without WR Juju Smith-Schuester for the rest of the season so they’ll need more outings from Chase Claypool that resemble this one (5rec, 130yds, 1td) if they plan on making any noise. Pittsburgh welcomes the Seattle Seahawks who are without one of their own stars, QB Russell Wilson, to Heinz Field for a Sunday night matchup.

Current record- 2-3