(CBS Pittsburgh) — It looks as if nobody desires to win the AFC North. The Baltimore Ravens had been shut down by the Miami Dolphins in Week 10. The Pittsburgh Steelers limped to a tie with the (nonetheless) winless Detroit Lions. And the Cleveland Browns had been dominated by the New England Patriots. Solely the Cincinnati Bengals have an excuse, they’d the week off. However they’re performances within the two weeks earlier than confirmed little or no promise.
This week all 4 groups have the chance to make their case once more within the wide-open division. The Browns host the lowly Lions. The Ravens meet the Chicago Bears. The Bengals draw the Las Vegas Raiders. And the Steelers head to Los Angeles to play the Chargers.
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SportsLine‘s Larry Hartstein breaks down AFC North matchups in Week 11.
All occasions listed are Jap.
Detroit Lions @ Cleveland Browns, Sunday, November 21, 1:00 p.m.
Some predicted the Cleveland Browns may very well be a contender within the AFC North. And whereas that will but pan out, little about their efficiency up to now conjures up a lot confidence. They’ve misplaced to good groups and squeaked previous mediocre and dangerous groups. A Week 9 blowout of the division-rival Bengals is absolutely the one exception to this sample. Final week they had been completely dominated by the New England Patriots and rookie quarterback Mac Jones.
Accidents and the Odell Beckham Jr. distraction haven’t helped. However the former is a mid-season drawback that many groups face. In accordance with Hartstein, “despite the fact that Baker Mayfield has a knee harm, has a shoulder harm and one other harm I’m not even remembering proper now, he’s anticipated to start out. Hopefully Nick Chubb comes again off the COVID checklist. That will be a giant enhance for the offense. However Donovan Peoples-Jones, who’s principally beginning now that OBJ is out of city, he limped off with an harm on Wednesday. So you need to watch his standing for the Browns offense.”
Mayfield’s availability, after all, doesn’t assure the Browns offense will present up. The Browns solely put up seven factors within the Patriots sport, a part of which he performed. And a wholesome Case Keenum isn’t essentially a greater possibility. Kareem Hunt stays on injured reserve, and Nick Chubb could not play both. D’Ernest Johnson has proved a succesful fill-in, averaging over 5 yards per carry when he will get chunk of the carries. He ought to feast on a Lions protection that offers up 135.7 yards per sport on the bottom.
The Lions could also be completely satisfied they lastly didn’t lose a sport. However that isn’t the identical as successful, after all. Detroit tied Pittsburgh, who was taking part in with out quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. And like the remainder of their season, it wasn’t precisely fairly. However their had been some vivid spots. D’Andre Swift ran for 130 yards on 33 carries, extra yards than Jared Goff threw for. Goff appears to be like more likely to sit in Week 11 with an indirect harm.
“Detroit in all probability might be with out Jared Goff,” Bell identified. “And so they’re not going to start out their quantity two quarterback David Blough. Are they tanking? What are they doing? Tim Boyle, undrafted out of Jap Kentucky, was on the Packers for 3 years. Appears to be like like he’ll begin, and we’re seeing the market react. This quantity all the best way from 10, 11.5 or 12 for the Browns. To put that form of quantity, even towards an unknown quarterback, is slightly an excessive amount of with how the Browns have been performing offensively.”
Baltimore Ravens @ Chicago Bears, Sunday, November 21, 1:00 p.m. on CBS
The Ravens, at 6-3, nonetheless sit atop the messy AFC North, however they’re coming off a stunning loss to the Miami Dolphins. Lamar Jackson continues to play at an MVP-worthy stage, albeit with much less assist from his teammates. At occasions, he’s appeared to hold the group to wins on his personal shoulders. Jackson can’t do all of it although.
The Ravens protection, specifically, hasn’t lived as much as the excessive requirements it’s set in previous seasons. They contained an unexceptional Dolphins dashing assault final week, however Jacoby Brissett and Tua Tagovailoa mixed for 314 yards via the air. The protection additionally didn’t put the ball again in Jackson’s succesful arms late within the fourth quarter after he narrowed the result in 5. Two weeks earlier than they let Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals pile up 416 yards passing and three touchdowns in a blowout loss. The normally sturdy unit provides up an NFL-worst 283.3 passing yards per sport.
They head to Chicago subsequent to face the Bears and younger quarterback Justin Fields. The Bears entered their bye week having misplaced 4 straight and primarily eliminated themselves from competition within the NFC North. However their have been some positives. Fields, whereas not the quick savior followers could have hoped for, is making progress. His displaying in Week 9 — 17-29 for 291 yards, one TD and One INT — could also be his better of the season thus far.
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“They appeared actually good and aggressive in that sport at Pittsburgh,” based on Hartstein. “Justin Fields is beginning to progress towards a Ravens protection that offers up a ton of massive performs and has solely pressured seven turnovers this entire season — 5 interceptions and two fumbles recovered. They’re minus-five in turnover differential. Often this group is plus-margin on turnovers. In order that’s a number of factors to put. And the one situation you all the time must verify, Lamar Jackson’s standing. On Wednesday, he was out with a non-COVID sickness. Most probably he’ll be tremendous, and he’ll play. However proper now, if I needed to decide, I might take the Bears. However thus far. simply staying away.”
Cincinnati Bengals @ Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, November 21, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
The Bengals, just like the Bears, are additionally coming off a bye. And that week away couldn’t have come quickly sufficient. Of their earlier two video games, they allowed 34 factors to the now 2-7 New York Jets and 41 factors to the struggling Browns.
“I feel they’re going to make some adjustments defensively,” Hartstein speculated. “Eli Apple giving up large play after large play, is likely to be out of the beginning lineup.”
However will that be sufficient to maintain up with the Raiders and keep aggressive within the AFC North? “They’ve a horrible historical past coming off the bye, 5 straight losses, most of these in blowout trend,” Hartstein identified. “That’s been a giant matter in Bengals camp this week. They’re very decided to cease that streak. And I feel they’ve the appropriate matchup towards this Raiders group.”
The Raiders are attempting to bounce again from a horrible loss to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. And whereas the Chiefs have had their very own points this season, they’re nonetheless the defending AFC champion, with an offense able to placing up numerous factors in a hurray. Mahomes confirmed that in Week 9, going 35-50 for 406 yards and 5 touchdowns.
“We noticed what the Chiefs did to that Raiders secondary,” mentioned Hartstein. “And then you definately have a look at the Bengals, with Ja’Marr Chase and all of the weapons that Joe Burrow has. I feel it’s a great place for the Bengals.”
Burrow has additional realized among the potential that so excited Bengals followers earlier than his harm final season. And the addition of huge receiver Ja’Marr Chase has solely helped. Chase is fifth within the NFL when it comes to receiving yards, piling up 835 yards thus far. He ought to have the ability to add to that this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, November 21, 8:20 p.m.
The Steelers and Chargers each sit in second place of their respective divisions coming into this matchup. With loads of offensive expertise to be careful for, Hartstein sees Steelers’ working again Najee Harris as the person to observe for.
“Actually the secret’s Najee Harris,” Hartstein mentioned. “He’s going up towards the worst run protection in all of soccer and we all know Pittsburgh desires him to the touch the ball 25-30 occasions a sport, and they’re working this child into the bottom. However it is a excellent week for him to dominate the Chargers.”
For the Chargers, sophomore Justin Herbert struggled final week towards Minnesota finishing simply 58.8% of his passes and recording lower than 200 yards via the air for simply the second time this season. He’ll be exhausting pressed this week towards a Steelers D that’s at present sixth within the NFL towards the cross.
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Which picks are you able to make with confidence, and which Tremendous Bowl contender goes down exhausting this week? Go to SportsLine to see which groups will win and canopy the unfold, all from a mannequin that has returned nearly $7,500 since its inception, and discover out.