Raise your hand if you won a game this weekend. “Cleveland, Baltimore and Pittsburgh all raise their hands collectively.”
That’s right. Unless you are the Cincinnati Bengals (who were on a bye but even during a bye they lost due to 3 teams in the division winning), you have to feel pretty happy with your team getting a victory on Sunday.
The Baltimore Ravens proved they are the best team in the best division in football, while the Cleveland Browns & the Pittsburgh Steelers won games that they had no business winning. It’s the NFL, a week to week league.
It’s the AFC North, where three of the top six AFC seeds reside currently.
Baltimore Ravens 38 Detroit Lions 6
To say that the Ravens dominated the Lions on Sunday is an understatement. Baltimore took Detroit (whose hype train was getting out of hand) to the woodshed on Sunday.
Offensively, the unit was on another level. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is the favorite to win the MVP this year and Sunday he strengthened his case with a masterclass performance. It’s safe to say that Baltimore’s offensive identity is starting to emerge (must be nice) and this team knows what they want to do. The passing game is much better with offensive coordinator Todd Monken in charge and the running game is still effective.
Tight end Mark Andrews went off on National Tight End Day with retired tight end and current NFL on Fox analyst Greg Olson in attendance. Stop and admire the pocket presence that Lamar showed on this touchdown throw to wide receiver Nelson Agholor:
LAMAR AND NELLY MAKE IT HAPPEN❗️❗️❗️— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 22, 2023
Tune in on FOX! pic.twitter.com/kO1C0eL4K2
Defensively, the Ravens held the Lions high-powered offense in check and essentially controlled the line of scrimmage the entire game. In terms of defensive coordinators in the AFC North, we’ve mentioned Jim Schwartz and Lou Anarumo of the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals and making it easy to completely forget about Mike MacDonald. MacDonald coached talented defenses for the Michigan Wolverines and it’s not a surprise that Baltimore’s defense is well-coached and talented. The two things that I learned from this game is this:
- The Detroit Lions are not Super Bowl contenders and might not be as good as people think (The NFC is weak and they have yet to have a convincing win)
- The Baltimore Ravens ARE Super Bowl contenders and they are the best team in the division right now and it’s not close.
Baltimore runs the AFC North right now, and everyone else in the division has to figure something out to catch them.
Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Los Angeles Rams 17
They did it again. It has to be plot armor at this point (plot armor is essentially when a main character’s health is safeguarded because they are too important to the story). (Editor’s Note: I had no clue what this meant so glad Curtiss explained it)
The Steelers won a game that they had no business winning, this has happened multiple times this season. Is Pittsburgh a playoff team? They shouldn’t be but... Are they a team that could cause issues for teams down the road? Yes.
It’s a flawed team that is finding ways to win and they do it in ways that aren’t pretty. It’s the NFL, wins are hard to come by. Pittsburgh’s offense was pretty much non-existent in the first half, they didn’t make it to the red zone until the 2nd half and that happened after an interception by outside linebacker T.J. Watt.
Offensively, the unit still has problems despite playing well in the 2nd half. Quarterback Kenny Pickett’s main go-to is to give it to wide receiver George Pickens on those back-shoulder throws (teams will eventually find ways to shut that down) and getting wide receiver Diontae Johnson back helps the passing game a little bit.
Defensively, as I said before if they aren’t getting turnovers or getting consistent pressure this unit is middle of the road or average. Los Angeles Rams rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua had his way against the Steelers secondary, the run defense wasn’t particularly bad but it’s still an issue. Both Cleveland and Pittsburgh won games that might have been given to them due to poor officiating but you take what you can get:
Anyway, they are 4-2 but this team isn’t a serious playoff contender.