The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns don’t play until Monday night but two other divisional opponents squared off on Sunday. Despite multiple injuries to key starters, the Baltimore Ravens came into Cincinnati and were able to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals. Let’s start a quick recap with the AFC North following Week 2.
Baltimore Ravens 27, Cincinnati Bengals 24
Considering how many experts picked the Bengals to win this game (I had Baltimore winning just putting it out there), the Ravens going into PayCor Stadium and coming away with a victory is a huge deal.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson had his way with the Cincinnati Bengals, as he threw for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jackson had some big-time throws, including this one to rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers who is starting to contribute for Baltimore in a huge way.
As for the injury report, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. left with an ankle injury but head coach John Harbaugh doesn’t believe it’s too serious. Baltimore’s biggest issue surrounding this team is health, if healthy this team is capable of winning the AFC North and more.
#Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters that he doesn’t believe the injury to Odell Beckham Jr is serious.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 17, 2023
As for the losing team, Cincinnati has started 0-2 back-to-back seasons, and some will say “Oh they started 0-2 last year, so this year we will be fine.” Stop.
Last season, the Bengals lost to the Steelers and the Cowboys (the quarterbacks were Mitch Trubisky and Cooper Rush), this season they lost to both Cleveland and Baltimore (the quarterbacks are Deshaun Watson and Jackson who are better than Trubisky and Rush). Cleveland and Baltimore are significantly better than they were last year and losing those divisional games are a big deal.
While quarterback Joe Burrow is dealing with a calf injury (which he re-aggravated), he has been outplayed by both Jackson and Watson in back-to-back weeks. That’s not good. The injury excuse is fine but you can’t use that for why Burrow has looked horrendous the past two weeks.
Joe Burrow says he tweaked his calf again— Kelsey Conway (@KelseyLConway) September 17, 2023
Burrow had a bad interception in the endzone to Ravens safety Geno Stone earlier in the 3rd quarter, it appeared that Burrow didn’t see Stone. It killed whatever momentum that the Bengals had for that drive and the game.
The Bengals have problems, whether it’s the offense not being in sync or the run defense being non-existent this team has problems. Can they get it fixed? Probably but it might take a while but considering how tough the AFC is this season and already losing two division games, time is of the essence.
We will update this piece following Cleveland vs Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football.
What do you think of the Bengals and Ravens after the two squared off on Sunday? Talk about the AFC North in the comment section below