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AFC North Roundup: September 27, 2018

As the season hits the quarter point, here’s the need-to-know news around the AFC North.

Denver Broncos v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It’s Week 4, and after Sunday the season will be a quarter of the way through. With no clear dominant squad in the AFC North, the serious part of the season is about to get underway. The main matchup in the division this week is Sunday night’s contest between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, but the Cincinnati Bengals also have a test ahead in the Atlanta Falcons.

While all eyes will be on Baker Mayfield’s first NFL start against the Oakland Raiders this week, the rest of the division is also worth attention. Here’s what’s going on in Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cincinnati.

Baltimore Ravens: After years of struggling to find footing on offense, the Baltimore Ravens might have finally built up that side of the ball enough to make it among the best in the league. Baltimore Beatdown’s Jacob Loque details just how the Ravens offense “has gotten off to their most promising start in years.

Looking to Sunday, Vasilis Lericos breaks down the five key matchups for the Ravens against the Steelers. And Logan Levy has the Ravens’ latest injury update, which includes the return of rookie tight end Hayden Hurst to the practice field.

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers are three-point home favorites over the Ravens on Sunday night, reports Behind the Steel Curtain’s Simon Chester. But the more interesting of the Vegas lines is the over/under point total. At 51 points, this is the highest opening over/under in the history of the teams’ rivalry.

One key to a Steelers win on Sunday will be the involvement of now-healthy tight end Vance McDonald. Shannon White further makes the case that McDonald will be integral to the Steelers’ success throughout the season—but only if he can stay healthy. Another is finding a way to stabilize the secondary, and Nick Farabaugh’s answer is to start Cameron Sutton at cornerback alongside Joe Haden, rather than Artie Burns or Coty Sensabaugh.

Cincinnati Bengals: It’s just three games into his second season, but Bengals receiver John Ross hasn’t yet looked like a first-round draft pick. With five receptions for 27 yards and a touchdown, Cincy Jungle’s John Sheeran wonders if it’s time to write him off or to give him more time before he’s branded the dreaded “bust.”

Matt Minich takes to the film to illustrate how the Bengals offense can get the better of the Atlanta Falcons and their injury-ravaged defense on Sunday. One thing that will certainly help is receiver A.J. Green. Green suffered a pelvis injury in Week 3 but was able to practice on the rehab field on Wednesday, per Jason Marcum. Initially thought to be a long-shot to play in Week 4, it’s now possible Green will suit up against Atlanta.