Let’s face it – the AFC North was a hot mess last year! With Le’Veon Bell sitting out, the once-dominant Pittsburgh Steelers had to root for the Cleveland Browns in Week 17 in order to make the playoffs.
The Baltimore Ravens benched quarterback Joe Flacco and began the new era of Lamar Jackson football. Can Jackson keep being the leading rusher for this team and avoid injury?
The Cincinnati Bengals landed at the bottom of a division where the Browns had held that spot for too many years to count. But the once 0-16 Browns, under the leadership of rookie QB Baker Mayfield, are making their case to take over the division.
Let’s take a team-by-team look at the moves they’ve made so far to get ready for the battle to be “Kings of the North.”
The Chargers may have lost to the Ravens week 16 of the regular season, but they are looking for revenge in an exciting wildcard matchup Sunday.
The Ravens defeated the Chargers 22-10 in their first meeting and appeared to dominate them, but the Chargers actually had a chance to win the game. The Chargers got the ball with 3:10 left on the clock and had great field position. The score was 16-10 Ravens.
Unfortunately, the usually reliable tight end Antonio Gates fumbled with 2:48 on the clock and the Ravens ran it back 62 yards to the end zone, making the score 22-10 and sealing the Chargers fate. Their first matchup was in L.A. but this time, the Chargers must travel to Baltimore to play in a hostile environment faced with a 3 hour east coast time difference.
The Baltimore Ravens started training camp ahead of all the other NFL teams. The start of the 2018 season has a lot going on. This is Ozzie Newsome’s last year as general manager and a new draft class gives Ravens fans a lot to look forward to.
The Ravens had one of it’s best drafts this year by filling the needed skill set position. With the new addition of wide receivers Micheal Crabtree and Willie Snead, quarterback Joe Flacco now has some weapons that can go after the ball. Hopefully the coordinators will make the playbook better for Flacco and company.
The first four all went in the top 10 but it took a while for Jackson to find a home. In what may have been the most joyful moment of the evening for a lot of his fans, the Ravens traded back into the first round to get him at 32. Two went to the AFC North and two went to the AFC East. Both those divisions are going to see the quality of competition rise significantly in the next couple years.
Earlier we had listed the first 15 draft picks with a trade. Let’s see what happens with the rest of the teams and who will get drafted from 16-32. So here is the final attempt in Round 1 of the NFL Draft.
At the end of the last century, the Buffalo Bills were eliminated from the NFL Playoffs by the Tennessee Titans because of a play which is now known as the “Music City Miracle.”
Although the throw from tight endFrank Wycheck to wide receiverKevin Dysonappeared to everyone except Titans fans and, unfortunately, the referee, to be an illegal forward lateral, the resulting touchdown was allowed to stand. And the Bills lost by a score of 22-16.
So began the epic journey known around Western New York as “The Drought.” For 17 long, torturous years, the Bills failed to make the postseason. This annual exercise in futility was the butt of countless jokes and NFL Today graphics.
The Lions were facing an opponent this week that on paper, appeared pretty evenly matched. Both teams are having mediocre seasons so far. Each team has playoff aspirations. Each team has had impressive wins but also had some not so impressive losses. They also had the same record going into this game. In order for the Lions to keep their playoff hopes alive, winning this game was paramount.
I hate to say this because just a few weeks ago I said that the Packers had a great chance to turn things around for the rest of the season. Alas, they haven’t. And from the looks of it, they won’t.
So, what went wrong? It’s hard to tell, but besides quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone, things never quite picked up on the turf for the Green Bay Packers. Heck, they even lost tight end Martellus Bennett back to the New England Patriots. He started seven games and then the team played a very odd game of injury-waive-goodbye with him.