By Kate Arhar (aka Cleveland Kate) // @ClvlndK8
After years of tough competition and league-leading stats, the AFC North seems to have fallen on hard times. Through four weeks, the Pittsburgh Steelers are at the top with a predictable 3-1 record. They are currently ranked 5th on the Bleacher Report Power Rankings. Then, there’s the REST of the division. Down at #22 we have the Baltimore Ravens (2-2), at #23 the Cincinnati Bengals (1-3), and, pulling up the rear as usual, my Cleveland Browns (0-4).
Pittsburgh’s only loss so far came in overtime vs the Chicago Bears. They look good. Really good. Going to the Playoffs and maybe the Super Bowl good. (Man it hurts just to type that!). They host a tough and improving Jacksonville Jaguars team this week but their offense, which has put up a division-leading 90 points so far, is up to the challenge.
Don’t let that 2-2 record the Ravens are boasting about fool you. They’ve scored a measly 60 points (least in the division) while giving up 80 points to opposing teams. After starting the season with two wins, they’ve given up 44 points to Jacksonville and 26 points to Pittsburgh. This week they face the Oakland Raiders – IN Oakland – so unless their defense steps up, they don’t have enough offensive weapons to win.
Next we have the surprisingly bad Bengals. It wasn’t that long ago that people were talking about their fight to win the division and their playoff chances but this season they’ve been a huge disappointment. Aside from their one win again the Browns, during which they scored 31 of their season-total 64 points, they haven’t put up much in the way of offense.
And we all know how hard it is for any defense to hold off opponents forever. They travel to Buffalo to face a Bills team coming off a huge win against the Atlanta Falcons this week so things may not get better any time soon.
Last, and most likely least, are my Browns. The offense under rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer has struggled, wide receivers lead the league in dropped passes and don’t even get me started on the mental mistakes and penalties. They’ve put up 64 points so far, which is actually the second highest point total in the division, but it’s the 107 points they’ve given up that tells the real story.
Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams gave all fans hope during the off-season that at least the defense would be good but that has just not proven to be the case. On the bright side, #1 overall draft pick Myles Garrett will finally join them on the field this week as they host the NY Jets.
Fantasy Rankings: Quarterbacks
12 Ben Roethlesberger, Pit
17 Andy Dalton, Cin
18 DeShone Kizer, Cle
21 Joe Flacco, Bal
I’m so sick of Joe Flacco. I’m sorry but I can’t stand to watch us play like this because of our QB.
— Ravens Nation (@LIVERavenNation) October 1, 2017
Fantasy Rankings: Running backs
1. Le’Veon Bell, Pit
15. Joe Mixon, Cin
19. Duke Johnson Jr., Cle
24. Isaiah Crowell, Cle
26. Javorius Allen, Bal
33. Giovani Bernard, Cin
35. Alex Collins, Bal
Fantasy Rankings: Wide Receivers
2. Antonio Brown, Pit
4. A.J. Green, Cin
31. Jeremy Maclin, Bal
32. Martavis Bryant, Pit
34. Mike Wallace, Bal
51. Kenny Britt, Cle
AJ Green vs. Jabrill Peppers. I’ll let you guess how that one worked out.
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 1, 2017
Fantasy Rankings: Tight Ends
14. Benjamin Watson, Bal
21. Tyler Kroft, Cin
Fantasy Rankings: Defense/Special Teams
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
3. Baltimore Ravens
11. Cincinnati Bengals
21. Cleveland Browns
That’s it for now…. unless you want to discuss Routes?
Talk AFC North with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8