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AFC North: Week Three Recap

Well, that was ugly. Week three was a tough one. Especially if you’re a fan of any AFC North team, except for the Baltimore Ravens.

Starting off with those Ravens, their fans should be very happy about the win and the undefeated record, but my word was it an ugly one. Ravens fans are accustomed to winning in this fashion, but their matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars less resembled an NFL contest and instead looked like a showdown for the number one pick of the draft in the (now defunct) European Football League.

The team has struggled to find consistency in all three phases of the game, and while this has led to late game drama, a positive to take from that is that they have made the plays that needed to be made when in those clutch situations. This is something that could not be said about the 2015 Ravens who seemingly found a way to lose a game every single week.

Speaking of finding a way to lose a game, allowing a dude named Trevor Siemian throw four touchdown passes on you is easily a way to lose any game. That is exactly what the Cincinnati Bengals did in their week three matchup with the Denver Broncos, who appear to be an even better team than they were last year (a scary prospect).

Staying with the Bengals, they are now sitting at 1-2 and third place in the AFC North. The interesting part, it could be argued they are the best team in the division that has had to run the gauntlet of a tough schedule. If they want to get there, Tyler Eifert will need to return sooner than later to help diversify their offense a bit more.

While the Bengals would like to be considered the best team in the division, it is widely agreed upon that the Pittsburgh Steelers are that team. However, they didn’t much look the part against rookie quarterback Carson Wentz and their cross state rival, the Philadelphia Eagles. In fact, they looked completely lost on both defense and offense as Wentz torched them for 301 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Their offense, which is known as one of the most explosive in the league, was held out of the end zone by an Eagles defense that is surprising many with their strength.

On the topic of surprising, Terrelle Pryor’s multi-faceted outburst against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday was one of the more interesting storylines of the weekend. To break some extremely riveting news, the Cleveland Browns are not a very good football team this season, but Pryor’s involvement helped keep them in the spotlight a bit this week. His performance running, passing, and catching the ball gave the Browns a spark and pushed Pryor into the history books. Per the NFL, he is the first player to have at least 120 receiving yards, at least 30 passing yards, and at least 20 rushing yards since Frank Gifford back in 1959. If Pryor can replicate at least some of this on a week-to-week basis the Browns should be more watchable in the short term, and he could prove to be an important weapon for them in years to come. Until then, he’ll continue to play the role of swiss army knife for a team that will take just about any kind of knife they can find.

To wrap up, the Ravens head back to Baltimore to take on the Oakland Raiders in week four. This team should prove to be their first true test of the season, as the Raiders possess some serious offensive firepower and have been able to capitalize on it, unlike the Jaguars. Their defense is suspect though, and can likely be taken advantage of in a hostile cross-country environment. Hopefully that happens and the Ravens march on to a fourth straight victory.