AFC North: preseason week one

 

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North & NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8  

It’s hard to believe Week 1 of the NFL Preseason is already in the books.

This season, I’ll be covering the AFC North:  Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers.

For the past few years, this division has easily been dominated by the Steelers and Ravens. This season may bring quite a few surprises!

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AFC North – Everything is about to change

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

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.”

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Steelers miss playoffs after a drama filled season

Sonja Greenfield Steelers contributor

By Sonja Greenfield //@Mom23RN

Steelers 16 – Bengals 13

Despite the win in Cincinnati, the Steelers still end up missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

First, we start the year with running back Le’Veon Bell holding out for a long-term deal instead of a franchise tag.  While most felt that it was going to come together at some point, it didn’t.

But no one benefited from Bell’s absence more than RB James Conner.  Conner finished the season with almost 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards passing and had 13 touchdowns.  He stepped into the RB role and made it his own.  Could Bell be changing the way that holdouts go?  Is there anything wrong with betting on yourself?  Should you think of your team?

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“Now here’s a guy…..” Steeler’s Smith-Schuster makes football fun

By Sonja Greenfield //@Mom23RN

No, this isn’t going to be a diatribe on why Cris Collinsworth is awful, nor will it be a diatribe on why he’s amazing.  Collinsworth’s catchphrase is what came to my mind when I thought about Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Now here’s a guy who gets it.  He just does.  He’s one of the younger players in the NFL and he works hard!

 

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The Steel Deal — Week 8

Sonja Greenfield Contributor Pittsburgh Steelers

By Sonja Greenfield // @Mom23RN

Pittsburgh 33 – Browns 18

It was an emotional day, to say the least for the Pittsburgh fans. Still coming to grips with the shooting at the Pittsburgh Synagogue, Steelers fans filled up the stadium for a game against division foe Cleveland Browns.

Coming off of the bye, and a come from behind win against the Bengals, the Steelers were looking to pick up where they left off. That was the thought anyway. The Steeler defense was a little bit sleepy in the first few possessions. The Browns were able to pretty much do what they wanted on the opening drive, but it stalled and had to kick a field goal.

A couple of series later, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception. Thankfully it wasn’t a pick six, but yeah, it was a slow start.  Finally, Roethlisberger was able to connect with wide receiver Antonio Brown and get the scoring party started.  Sort of.

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The Steel Deal–Week 5 Pittsburgh Steelers

Sonja Greenfield Pittsburgh Steelers Contributor

By Sonja Greenfield // @Mom23RN

Pittsburgh  Steelers 41 – Atlanta Falcons 17

On a game that the Steelers “had” to have in this early season, they didn’t disappoint.  While the Falcons have been rather lackluster this season, the Steelers have been inconsistent.  What looked like would be a very tight game, turned into a pretty commanding win for the Steelers.

Wide receiver Antonio Brown was his usual self and had 6 catches for 101 yards.  Brown also had 2 touchdowns.  Running back James Conner also had himself a game.  He was running, he was catching, and he was scoring!

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did have an interception at the end of the half to keep the game interesting.  However, they scored a touchdown on their next three possessions coming out of halftime which pretty much sealed the deal against the Falcons.

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The Steel Deal – Week Three

Sonja Greenfield, Contributor Pittsburgh Steelers

By Sonja Greenfield //@Mom23RN

Pittsburgh Steelers 30 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27

Before I get into the write-up, let me just introduce this. Yes, you know me as a Lions fan.  However, the Steelers needed some love, so I went ahead and decided that I would pick them up and write about them as well.

It’s been fun learning about this team. I know plenty of Steeler fans, a lot of my family are Steelers fans, so it’s good to branch out a bit.  I’ll do it like my Pride Report articles.  I’ll have the person who was the Steel Deal (did something well) and who was Not the Deal (who didn’t do something well).  So, here we go!  (See what I did there?)

The Pittsburgh Steelers had to go on the road to face the red-hot Buccaneers and the even hotter quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.  This was looking to be quite the task.  The winless Pittsburgh Steelers have had quite a drama-filled off-season and season so far.  From running back Le’Veon Bell’s holdout to wide receiver Antonio Brown’s absence from practice earlier in the week, it’s been eventful.  Could the Steelers come in and pull off the win?

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Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Quick Questions

Official Lions Reporter

By Sonja Greenfield // @Mom23RN

I’ve come to realize that you either LOVE the Steelers or you hate them like a paper cut.  I don’t think I’ve seen any in-between when it comes to the Black and Yellow.   I got the opportunity to ask 5 questions of a person who loves the Steelers and an all-around good kid, my friend from Washington University of St. Louis, Safety Langston Laramore-Josey.

Langston Laramore-Josey (@LangstonLJ)

 

 

  •  Do you think this is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s last year?   I don’t think this is Ben’s last year because of how upset he was with the Steelers drafting Mason Rudolph. I don’t think he’ll retire until they draft a quarterback he approves of.

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Green Bay Packers vs Pittsburgh Steelers: What to Watch

Contributor, Green Bay Packers

By Lucy Rendler-Kaplan // @LUCYrk78

Look. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the Packers. I LOVE watching the Packers. I’d been counting down the days till I could watch them again.

But.

I hate preseason. It just makes me too nervous. There’s too much on the line with starters playing. And now, with quarterback Aaron Rodgers playing Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, I’ll spend the next 24 hours praying to the football gods for no injuries.

It IS going to be an exciting game. Green Bay hasn’t hosted Pittsburgh during the preseason since 1996 (Packers won, natch). In fact, these two teams don’t play each other very often at all. Thursday night will only the fourth meeting between these two teams since 2013. Green Bay is 14-10-1 in the preseason against Pittsburgh.

With Rodgers playing, even for a few series, that means we won’t get to evaluate the three guys competing for his back-up as much. If you’ve followed my recaps, you know I’m not a huge Brett Hundley fan, so I’m going to keep my eye on DeShone Kizer Thursday night. Aaron Rodgers owns the pocket, and I’d love to see Kizer become a bit more comfortable playing in there.

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Preview: Jaguars vs Steelers

Key Contributor, Jacksonville Jaguars

By Julie Dixon // @ABroncoNole

The Jacksonville Jaguars, a hard-luck team for a decade, are readying for round two in Pittsburgh. On their last outing, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger turned the ball over five times. The final score was 30-9. Can they do it, again? Be the upset winner in these playoffs?

Steelers fans will be quick to point out that the interceptions were flukes, and despite the Jags getting the ball back so many times, they didn’t put up many points. They’ll say the game was close until the second half. Finally, they’ll say that minus an 80 yard bust out touchdown, running back Leonard Fournette was kept under 100 yards.

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