AFC North Power Rankings: Baltimore Ravens picking up ground on Pittsburgh Steelers
By Alex Fasano
Week 13 only saw one winner from the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens. Lamar Jackson and Co. brings Baltimore closer to the division leading Pittsburgh Steelers.
Even though the season is not quite over, it probably is for the Cincinnati Bengals. After a 24-10 loss to the Broncos, the Bengals fall to 5-7 and see their postseason hopes dwindling. Backup quarterback Jeff Driskel finished with 236 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
The Bengals suffered from a few miscalculations; allowing four sacks, three turnovers, and a tough running back in Philip Lindsay to go for 157 yards and two touchdowns. After losing Andy Dalton, the season looked over. Now, AJ Green is out, as I said before, the season is probably over. If that’s not enough, their next game is in Los Angeles against the 9-3 Chargers.
The Browns were far from “dangerous” after getting manhandled by the Houston Texans, 29-13. Baker Mayfield finished with 397 yards and a score but threw three interceptions (all in the first half). Jarvis Landry also got going with six catches for 103 yards.
Cleveland was no match for the Houston defense, allowing a pick-6 and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Like the Bengals, the season is looking grim for the Browns, sitting at 4-7-1 on the year. A game against the Carolina Panthers only adds more doubt to finishing over .500.
Even though the year may be over, there’s a lot of positives to take from 2018, specifically the talented quarterback and running back duo in Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb.
The Baltimore Ravens are turning heads, not only in the North, but in the AFC. Riding a three-game win streak, and only a half-game behind the Steelers, the Ravens are a team no one wants to see in the playoffs.
In their 26-16 win over the Atlanta Falcons, the Baltimore defense held Matt Ryan and the offense to under 200 yards, plus three sacks and a fumble returned for a touchdown. Lamar Jackson continues to win, finishing with 200 total yards and a rushing touchdown. Fellow rookie Gus Edwards is getting his share of the workload as well, getting 21 carries for 82 yards.
The Ravens still hold the #6 seed and could still jump the Steelers in the division. However, much like Pittsburgh, the schedule doesn’t favor the Ravens, with games against the Chiefs, Bucs, and Chargers.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you the referees altered the outcome of that game…because I’m sure you already knew that. Terrible officiating aside, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Chargers 33-30 on their own accord.
The lack of defense over-shadowed a terrific outing from the offense. Big Ben threw for 281 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick, while Antonio Brown had 10 catches for 154 yards and a score. The defense showed no adjustments, allowing Keenan Allen to go for over 100 yards. Plus, the collision of Steeler’s defensive backs Sean Davis and Joe Haden that allowed for a touchdown clearly didn’t help. A rough couple of games for the Steelers, as it only gets tougher with the loss of James Conner to an ankle injury.
Pittsburgh still holds the AFC North and the #4 seed, but the road ahead shows no mercy, with Oakland, New England and New Orleans waiting over the horizon.