Six weeks into the NFL season and there’s been somewhat of a reversal of expectations in the AFC North. So let’s take a look at how the division has changed and our Conclusion’s – Week 6.
The Cincinnati Bengals are still winless but have been in some close games in recent weeks. Week 3 saw them lose by 4 points to Buffalo and Week 5 losing by 3 points against Arizona. In Week 6, their game was against AFC North counterparts the Baltimore Ravens. Despite 91 yards on 5 catches from Auden Tate there was very little for Bengals fans to smile about. They lost 23-17 to an under strength Baltimore team. In my opinion it’s time to move on from incumbent quarterback Andy Dalton, who once again proved ineffectual. He’s already fumbled 6 times, losing three, and has five interceptions; only slightly less than his 7 touchdown passes.
By no means is the offensive failure on Dalton alone. The red rocket has been running for his life all year. Cincinnati’s offensive line has shuffled players in and out but the results have remained the same; woeful. The Bengals have already allowed more sacks than they did in the whole of 2018. With 22 sacks allowed, it’s not out of the question for them to allow 50 total sacks. That total would be the most in Dalton’s tenure at quarterback. The skill players have also failed to help Dalton consistently, especially when it come to getting in the end zone. They rank 32nd in rushing yards too, averaging 56.5 yards a game. That’s a good half from many backs! Failures on offence are a large part of why the Bengals are 0-6.
On the other side, the Ravens missed Hollywood Brown’s explosive plays. Lamar Jackson’s feet went a large way to deciding the Ravens week 6 fate. He was the team’s leading rusher by far, with 152 yards and a touchdown. However, it was clear the offence was ailing.
The defence is failing to get to opposing quarterbacks and the linebackers in particular look inept at times. This lack of production, coupled with injuries, has resulted in a defence that ranks 25th in the NFL in passing yards allowed. Hoping to sure up the defence, the Ravens traded for two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters. In return the Los Angeles Rams receive inside linebacker Kenny Young and an undisclosed pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. It’s a great move for the Ravens despite the recent drop off in Peters play. He’ll form an imposing duo with with cornerback Marlon Humphrey, mentioned by some in the ‘shutdown corner’ conversation.
In contrast to the Bengals, Cleveland were expected to be solidly in the playoff hunt. Sadly for struggling Browns fans, who are due some good fortune, this hasn’t happened and they fell to 2-4 after suffering a 32-28 loss to the Russell Wilson led Seattle Seahawks.
The finger can be pointed in many places. Undoubtedly the lion’s share will fall at the feet of Baker Mayfield. Mayfield has just 5 touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions. He had 3 against the Seahawks alone. Trying to force the ball, and playing behind a porous offensive line, have combined to see the second year player regress. However injuries to the entire defensive backfield and a slew of penalties have also contributed significantly to Cleveland’s woes.
For the Steelers their season took a downward turn when Big Ben Roethlisberger suffered a season ending injury. I got worse when his backup, second year player Mason Rudolph, suffered a concussion against the Ravens in Week 5. With Rudolph still in concussion protocol the team turned to Devin Hodges against the San Diego Chargers. Hodges looked overmatched at times but did enough to get the win, completing 15 of 20 passes for 132 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
The Star of Week 6 for the Steelers was James Connor. His 41 yards and a touchdown rushing, couple with 78 yards and a touchdown receiving were enough to get Pittsburgh their second win. Pittsburgh’s resurgent defence also played its part in the win, holding the Chargers to 32 rushing yards and picking of Philip Rivers twice. The result was a sign of hope for the 2-4 Steelers as they head into a much needed bye week.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 19, 2019
In Week 7 the both the Steelers and Browns have bye weeks while the Steelers play the Seahawks. The Beghalss, however, play the Jaguars in Cincinnati. Could this be the game they get their first win? Without Jalen Ramsey (traded to the Rams for a king’s ransom and the kitchen sink, it’s a possibility!
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