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AFC North Week 11 Review: Separation begins with Ravens, Browns climbing

Steelers, Bengals falling in the tough AFC North

Syndication: The Enquirer Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Well, well how the turntables.... (if you watch the Office, you understand the saying).

The AFC North played against one another this week, only two teams were going to come away with victories (thankfully there were not ties). After losing their franchise quarterback the Cleveland Browns stole another game, the Baltimore Ravens got back to their winning ways and the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers suffered blows to their playoff hopes.

Anyway, let’s recap Week 11 in the AFC North and enjoy this clip of quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson hyping the team up in the pre-game huddle.

Cincinnati Bengals 20, Baltimore Ravens 34

Let’s start with the winning team. Good news for Baltimore, you were able to strengthen your grip on the AFC North with a bounceback win. Bad news? Tight end Mark Andrews is out for the season with an ankle injury. The injury looked bad at a glance considering that Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson committed a “hip-drop” tackle (which the NFL is looking into banning which is absurd)

Quarterback Lamar Jackson got banged up in this game (by Wilson, who tried to use a gator-roll tackle when Lamar was already down) but it didn’t matter as he was able to strengthen his MVP case. Offensively, this unit was able to move the ball down the field but the loss of Andrews will sting.

With a diverse running game and a quality passing attack, they will be able to manage. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr gave some flashes of the Odell we saw with the Los Angeles Rams in 2021, he was the only receiver for the Ravens that went over 100 yards for the game.

Defensively, the unit was able to lock in even after Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow left the game with a wrist injury. The running game did get gashed but the team was able to get stops when they needed to.

As for the Bengals, their season is pretty much over. The team isn’t officially eliminated from playoff contention but when you lose your quarterback for the season, and your remaining schedule is tough you might as well pack it up.

The Bengals will likely win a few games they have no business winning (I wouldn’t bet on that) but their roster and coaching is flawed. Offensively, I will repeat what I said last week. This unit is inconsistent from drive to drive and their offensive line is still a weakness.

Defensively, this unit isn’t as good as they were last year (they aren’t bad but they aren’t good, I’d say they are mediocre) and some of that has to do with some of the pieces they lost. To add insult to injury, outside of beating the Bills and the NFC West they are winless in the AFC North.

Hate to see it.

Pittsburgh Steelers 10, Cleveland Browns 13

Let’s talk about the Steelers. I learned two things today about Pittsburgh in their loss to the Browns:

  • This Steelers team is not as good as their record indicates (It’s not like I haven’t been saying it the whole year)
  • Quarterback Kenny Pickett is not the answer (Something I also said throughout the year)

Offensively, outside of running back Jaylen Warren everyone on that offense pretty much didn’t do anything. Head coach Mike Tomlin defended the offense after this loss (as he should do it publicly) but let’s be real he knows the offense has been a problem for most of the year and it’s not getting any better:

As for quarterback Kenny Pickett, he’s not the franchise quarterback for this team. The amount of excuses being made for Pickett needs to stop. The stats and eye test say that Pickett isn’t the guy and Pittsburgh should be looking elsewhere for their franchise quarterback. It won’t be this year (could be but I doubt it).

Browns rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson wasn’t much better but he outplayed Pickett and it’s a recurring theme of Pickett getting outplayed by the opposing team’s QB every week.

Defensively, the unit was fine today but the Browns were able to move the ball on this defense with ease in the 1st half but they were fine in the 2nd half (mainly due to the conservative play calling by the Browns).

On Twitter, there was a tweet that said there was a possibility that the Pittsburgh Steelers would be in contention for the 1 seed in the AFC. That’s not happening. Regardless of who they play on their schedule, their offense is inept and their defense isn’t good. Call it what you want, but this is a below average team and there is no disputing that.

What do you think about the AFC North after Week 11?