Panthers fire Rivera – Who’s next?

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

In news that shocked me this week, the Carolina Panthers have fired head coach Ron Rivera after nine seasons.If a guy can coach a team to 5-7 while their star quarterback (Cam Newton) has been out since week 2, is any coach safe in this league?

It seems as if once one team fires their head coach before the season ends, a couple of others decide to follow suit. Who else could be on the head coach chopping block before the end of the year?

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The AFC North playoff picture could be decided this weekend

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

With only a few games left in the season, for three teams in the AFC North, this weekend will have a huge impact on the playoff picture.

The Baltimore Ravens have been lighting things up and quarterback Lamar Jackson is  fast becoming a front-runner for league MVP.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns meet again for the much-anticipated re-match following their game-ending brawl of just two weeks ago.

And the Cincinnati Bengals are still fighting to get that first win of the season.

Let’s take a look at the games for this week…

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Franchise QBs on their way out? The quarterback carousel begins early.

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303 

We are at the mid-season mark and already we have teams talking about moving on from their supposed franchise quarterbacks.

Let’s take a look at who may be leaving their quarterbacks behind.

Carolina Panthers placed Cam Newton on season-ending injured reserve this week, leaving many to question if we will ever see Newton in a Panthers uniform again., especially since they have quarterback Kyle Allen, an undrafted free agent who has played well for Carolina in relief of Newton. He has completed 60.7 % of his passes for 1,291 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions in six games.

The Panthers have gone 5-1 in the games in which Allen has started.

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Midterm Review: the 2019 NFL’s eight “Rookie” head coaches

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

It’s hard to believe we are at the mid-point of the NFL season. As such, there were eight teams starting the year with brand new head coaches. Six of them are in their first head coaching position, while two have held the job before.

In the competition to see who made the best hiring decision, the clear – and only – winner at this point is the Green Bay Packers. Matt LeFleur has this team leading their division at 7-1. Now, perhaps it’s the Aaron Duo – quarterback Aaron Rodgers and running back Aaron Jones – who deserve some credit, but there are other teams in this group with talented players who are not even close to being .500. That means I’m giving the Packers an A on the hire. Trust me – other coaches might have found a way to screw up this team so I’ll give credit to LeFleur because he hasn’t.

Let’s take a look at the other seven teams to see how they are faring…

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Got a problem with OBJ’s pants? Fine, says the NFL…

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

As a Browns fan, we tend to take the “red headed step-child” view when it comes to how the NFL treats us and our team.

Most of the time, it’s just us being super-sensitive. When we complain, everyone else just shakes it off and tells us to quite whining and get over it.

And I, for one, have tried to be more objective, to not take everything personally when it comes to penalties, fines, etc., that are aimed at my team.

But now the NFL has fined wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. because his pants didn’t cover his knees. $14,037 worth of non-knee-coverage.

So it’s hard even for me to just shake this off and pretend it’s not personal.

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Will the week 7 “bye” hurt or heal these teams?

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

The “Bye Week” couldn’t come soon enough for the Carolina PanthersCleveland BrownsPittsburgh Steelers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

All four of these teams need this break to heal and regroup. What’s interesting to me, is the startling similarities between these four teams.

Two from the AFC North and two from the NFC South. Two struggling with first-year head coaches and sub-par quarterback play, while the other two are dealing with injuries that have taken out their starting QB and left their entire offenses struggling.

But I wonder… will this “Bye” week hurt or heal these teams?

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The battle for the AFC North continues into week 6

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

Week 5 didn’t do anything to clear up the picture in the AFC North. In fact, the waters got even more muddy.

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost a close division matchup to the Baltimore Ravens. The Cincinnati Bengals lost a tight one to the Atlanta Falcons. And the Cleveland Browns got ripped apart in front of the entire football nation on Monday night by the San Francisco 49ers.

The Ravens may be at the top of the division with a 3-2 record, but they are a long way from claiming dominance.

Let’s take a look back at the action, and a look forward to this week’s games.

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AFC North: First Quarter Review

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

Week 4 was all about AFC North division matchups.

Between the hard-fought ground battle in Baltimore between the Ravens (2-2) and the Cleveland Browns (2-2), to the Monday Night Football showcase of two winless teams, Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3) vs Cincinnati Bengals (0-4), the AFC North is a division undergoing a huge transformation.

How did this week’s games impact the division standings – and what do the upcoming weeks have in store for these hard grinding teams?

Let’s take a look at the first quarter of the 2019 season for this division…

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AFC North Week 4 Preview

 

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

Divisional Match-ups are finally here in the AFC North and there are two great ones this weekend.

Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens (2-1) host the Cleveland Browns (1-2).  Then on Monday Night Football, the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3) host the Cincinnati Bengals (0-3)

During the off-season, it appeared that there would be a battle going on in this division. However, a season-ending injury to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has left the team floundering. And first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens is struggling with discipline and penalty issues for the Browns.

Will this week’s match-ups ultimately decide the division?

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AFC NORTH – Week 1 Review

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

The Baltimore Ravens sit alone atop the AFC North after one week due to surprising losses by the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Cincinnati Bengals loss to the Seattle Seahawks was only surprising in that the game was so very much closer than anyone predicted.

The Ravens looked amazing, but is that because the Miami Dolphins are worse than advertised? And after all the pre-season hype, are the Browns really this bad?

No one was surprised to see the New England Patriots man-handle the Steelers, yet the complete beat-down was unexpected. And quarterback Andy Dalton put up better numbers than Russell Wilson!!!! How did that happen?

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