After five weeks, the AFC North is more open than Week 1. Less than two weeks ago, it looked closed, though, and I want to glimpse in the rearview mirror first.
Looking back, Baltimore looked dead in the water. They were stomped out in London, against the Jaguars. A week later, the Pittsburgh Steelers bullied the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Fans started questioning everything this team has been working towards over the past few years. Some called for the firing of Marty, John, Ozzie and Joe.
Pittsburgh was a team ablaze. Though they produced their typical ‘Steelers loss to a weak team’ against Chicago, their team looked built for something serious. Pittsburgh went into Baltimore and ran roughshod against the Brandon Williams-less defensive front. Le’Veon Bell reminded the Ravens they do in fact need to gameplan for his skillset.
After back-to-back losses from the Ravens and Texans, Cincinnati was also ablaze, though not the good kind. The Bengals offensive coordinator, Ken Zampese, was fired. Suddenly, they remembered the play ‘Throw to 18’ and begin winning a couple games, and also going toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers, though it was an overtime loss.
Cleveland continues to be a team that cannot figure it out, though Myles Garrett is healthy and already sacking quarterbacks.
This was the end of week four, and Baltimore looked done, Cincinnati is playing catch-up, and Pittsburgh was ready to take the throne.
Then Week 5 struck, hard.
Pittsburgh took a devastating loss to the Jaguars at home, including Ben Roethlisberger throwing back-to-back pick sixes to the Jaguars.
Baltimore racked up thirty points and their offensive line turned Khalil Mack into a ‘JAG’.
Cincinnati beat the Bills and are stringing together some good play on both sides.
Cleveland made a switch at quarterback, which may help, but they won’t climb out of the basement anytime soon.
The best team in the AFC North is inconclusive, but I’m giving the leader of the chase to the Steelers. Until Baltimore overtakes them by multiple wins, they are in second place.