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…
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?
Week two of the NFL Preseason has gone and plenty of questions have been left unanswered for the teams in the AFC North.
All four teams (Ravens, Bengals, Browns and Steelers) seem to have locked on to their starting quarterback. It’s going to be the position battles that most intrigue fans during training camp and the preseason. At last wide receiver Antonio Brown and his helmet issues are no longer a problem in this division! Good luck with that, Oakland!
But there were two really heartbreaking losses this week in the death’s of former Bengals running back Cedric Benson and Steelers wide receivers coach Darryl Drake.
It’s been a while since we’ve talked about the Baltimore Ravens here on Our Turf. So, I scoured the internet to find someone who I could ask about the Ravens. I came up with “The most ELITE Raven’s blog on the internet”, The Baltimore Feather! He was gracious enough to let me pick his brain about the 2018 AFC North champions. Here’s our chat!
SG: John Harbaugh. They extended him over the offseason, and a lot of people felt that he could be on the move. How do you feel about that?
The Baltimore Feather: John Harbaugh’s extension was well deserved. His win of the AFC North after changing quarterbacks and offensive schemes mid-season makes him look like a football wizard. Many people were convinced at the bye week that Harbaugh would depart from Baltimore after 2018, but his playoff push saved him from that fate.
I think the extension and the vote of confidence from the Ravens brass are well deserved and the right move for the organization. Harbaugh is one of the best coaches in the NFL, and it would be a terrible mistake to let him go.
After a day of reviewing the history of pro football and soaking up a compelling speech from former Bear’s linebacker Brian Urlacher, the Chicago Bears made a strong stance at the Hall of Fame game in a 17-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
The stage was set for rookies to make their mark and veterans to show they still got what it takes to compete. It would have been epic to have seen the Bears first-round pick out on the field for the entire world to see. But there were others who took the stage to prove that they belonged in the NFL.
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.
Quarterback Philip Rivers became the official starter for the Chargers in 2006. Since that time, he has started every game and has thrown for more than 4,000 yards in 9 of his 12 seasons as the Chargers quarterback. He has led his team to the playoffs 5 times and has been selected as a pro-bowler six times over his career.
Perhaps his most impressive feat though is the fact that he led the Chargers to win the AFC West division title four years in a row from 2006-2009. Sadly, all of their playoff appearances have ended in heartbreak and Rivers has never reached the SuperBowl. Because of this, Rivers accomplishments thus far seem to be downplayed and his numbers overlooked.
With his contract set to expire in 2019 and Rivers turning 37 this year, it has been speculated that he will continue to play for several more years. As of right now, Rivers future at quarterback is unknown, but he deserves to end his career with the ultimate football accomplishment: a Lombardi.
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.
For the Bills, finding a franchise quarterback has been as epic a quest as the one for the Holy Grail. Since QB Jim Kellyretired in 1996, eleven different players have been at the position for Buffalo. That means, except for Drew Bledsoe (three seasons) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (four seasons), Bills’ starting QBs have lasted no more than one or two seasons each.
And the quest continues. Despite leading the team to the playoffs for the first time in seventeen years, current QB Tyrod Taylor is no lock to be the starter next season.Many NFL analysts believe the Bills will be looking to replace Taylor either through free agency or the draft.