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.

Pittsburgh Steelers 23 – 26 Baltimore Ravens

The Justin Tucker field goal to win in overtime for the Ravens did a lot to boost their emotions. A hard-fought battle that was marked by an unintended brutal hit on Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph needed extra time to decide the winner. 3rd string QB Devlin Hodges was competent, but a pass to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster that he lost to Ravens safety Marlon Humphrey, ended up being the most pivotal play of the game.

Now sitting alone at the top of the division, the Ravens will host the Bengals this Sunday at 1:00pm EST.

The Steelers, an unbelievable 1-4, travel to Los Angeles to play the Chargers Sunday night at 8:20pm EST. The Chargers, 2-3, are not what they once were but Phillip Rivers and company will give the Steelers more than they can handle on this road trip. Prediciton: Chargers win by 10.

Cincinnati Bengals 23 – 26 Arizona Cardinals

The Bengals just can’t get a break – or get out of their own way. Down 23-9, they mounted an amazing comeback to get things tied up at 23, but a Gonzalez field goal gave the Cardinals their first win of the season. Everything else was pretty well evenly matched.

Two touchdown throws for QB Andy Dalton vs two rushing TD’s for the Cardinals. Zero interceptions or fumbles. Three field goals for Bengals kicker Randy Bullock vs four field goals – and one miss – for Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzales. Both defenses made some good red zone stands, forcing field goal attempts from as close as the two yard line. The Bengals just came up a bit short.

The Bengals, 0-5, travel to Baltimore and may just get their first win of the season. If they watch the film of how the Browns dismantled the Ravens in Week 4, and see where the Steelers had success this past week, they may find the Ravens have taken them lightly and pull off the upset. Prediction: Bengals still can’t quite get it done and fall to 0-6.

Cleveland Browns 3 – 31 San Francisco 49ers 

Browns win the toss, take the ball, go 3-and-out. San Francisco goes on offense, first play from scrimmage sends running back Matt Breida 83 yards for the TD. And it only got worse after that. You’d think that the team that completely dominated the Ravens in Week 5 would have put up more of a fight, but the Browns just looked tired, listless, beaten the entire game.

The 49ers may be better than I gave them credit for, but the Browns self-inflicted wounds with turnovers, penalties, missed blocking assignments, etc., is what truly lost them this game.

The Browns host the 4-1 Seattle Seahawks this Sunday at 1:00pm EST. Winless at home, they need to end the losing streak at one or, with the Bye week up next, fans will have a long time to reconsider all of their expectations for the upcoming season.

 

Talk AFC North with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8

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