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AFC North Falters as Browns, Ravens and Steelers Blow Leads in Week 4

Three teams sit tied atop the division at 2-2 with Pittsburgh last at 1-3.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Only the Cincinnati Bengals won in Week 4 in the AFC North while the other three teams blew leads leading to losses.

The up-and-down nature of the division has been interesting. In Week 1, the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens got victories while the Cincinnati Bengals had the lone loss (to the Steelers). All four teams lost in Week 2 but bounced back in Week 3, with three out of the four teams winning. Only Pittsburgh's loss to Cleveland blemished the division’s record.

After Week 4, three teams are tied atop the division with 2-2 records while the Steelers bring up the rear at 1-3. It wasn’t pretty for the three losers:

  • The Browns got run over in the second half by, mostly, Atlanta’s backup running backs with very little yardage gained through the air except another blown coverage that led to the game-winning field goal.
  • The Steelers blew a 10-point lead to the New York Jets who scored two touchdowns in the last 7:31 of the game. Pittsburgh’s four interceptions, three by rookie Kenny Pickett, were crucial.
  • The Ravens had the great Buffalo Bills down 20-3 inside of the two-minute warning going into halftime and lost 23-20 being blanked in four possessions in the second half.

The Bengals started the week out right with a Thursday Night Football victory over the previously unbeaten Miami Dolphins. Unlike the other AFC North teams, Cincinnati scored the last 13 points of the game, all in the fourth quarter, to get the victory.

Going into the second quarter of the 2022 NFL season, things are set up to be quite difficult for Cleveland and Pittsburgh while the Bengals face an easy stretch and the Ravens have a bit of a mixed bag.

The Browns face the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots before back-to-back games with Baltimore and Cincinnati. The Steelers go on the road to Buffalo, face Tom Brady at home before going back on the road against the Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles.

For both teams, the next four-game stretch could define their season.

Baltimore also faces Brady along with the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints on the road. Their only home game is the matchup with Cleveland.

The Bengals face the Saints, Falcons and Carolina Panthers as well as their game on the road in Cleveland.

For the division, Week 4 could be one of the weeks that is looked back upon as the season draws to a close. All four teams could have had victories to close out the first quarter of the season. Instead, the AFC North is limping to the next quarter of the year with Cincinnati looking the best setup to come out of Week 8 at the top.

Which team surprises you most so far in the AFC North?