While some divisions in the NFL are already settled and playoff spots clinched, the AFC North is going to go down to the wire to determine which teams are in and which ones will be crying in their after-game water bottles.
My friend Dayna likes to talk about the NFC West being the best division in football. I disagree! The AFC North is – finally – looking like a real powerhouse of competition and could very easily produce this year’s Super Bowl champion!
With their win over the Indianapolis Colts last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers have locked on to the division title and a playoff berth. And at a depressing 4-10, the Cincinnati Bengals are out of the running.
However, the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens promise to make things interesting as they both fight for a wild card spot.
While it’s snowing in the midwest, the battle for the AFC North is heating up!
The Week 12 Sunday Night Football Game turned into the Tuesday Night game which then became the Wednesday Late Afternoon game for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. Thanks, Covid…
The Steelers top the division standings at 11-0, followed by the Cleveland Browns (yes, the Browns!) at 8-3. The Ravens, 6-5, may be the biggest disappointment so far this year while the Cincinnati Bengals at 2-8-1 still aren’t as far away as their record indicates.
Let’s take a look at what happened this week and who they have coming up on the schedule.
Week 2 of the NFL season started with an offensive showdown in the AFC North last Thursday night, in an inner-state match-up between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals. Yes, I said an offensive showdown!
In fact, the entire division looked good from an offensive perspective, putting up a combined 124 points. Now, they did allow 102 points so it looks like defense is going to be an issue for most of these teams…. but let’s take a closer look at what happened.
The 2020 NFL offseason has been anything but typical. Training camps are underway with no fans in attendance and our glimpses of the teams have been sketchy at best.
But in looking around the AFC North, at the additions from the draft, the free agency moves and the returns from injury, it seems as if it’s just another normal off-season.
I have to say the team to beat is the Baltimore Ravens – regardless of what Steeler Fan wants to believe. And while Pittsburgh and the Cleveland Browns battle to be second fiddle, I think we all know the Cincinnati Bengals need a lot more help than #1 draft pick Joe Burrow as quarterback.
Let take a look at what each team has been up to so far this year.
So, after being on my grad school grind for the past month or so, actually writing something NOT in APA format is well…. downright refreshing! Inserting a tweet is WAYYY easier than doing a proper APA reference page. However, I digress. Back to the matter at hand.
On a day where the Miami Dolphins honored the NFL 100 greatest football team in history, the 1972 perfect season Dolphins, the Cincinnati Bengals came to town, sporting the worst record in the NFL this season.
The Dolphins looked to secure their 4th win of the season, starting strong, taking the opening drive 11 plays for 75 yards with Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick hitting defensive end, Christian Wilkins, for the 1-yard score.
The Dolphins would then go on to score on their next possession, which saw wide receiver Devante Parker earn his first-ever 1,000-yard receiving season. From there, the Dolphins looked to be rolling to an easy win.
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.
It has been said a lot this week that the NFC West could be one of the most competitive divisions in the league. With San Francisco being undefeated, both Seattle and Los Angeles right in the thick of it, and Arizona beginning to shine, the NFC West isn’t a division anyone else in the league wants to face anytime soon.
Looking at week 8, two of the teams face opponents that are struggling to find wins, the other two face teams that will give them some serious competition. By the end of the week, will we still believe in the strength of the division? Let’s take a look at this week’s matchups.