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AFC North Preview: Week 6

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens (3-2)

The Ravens will play their third divisional game in a row when they face the winless Bengals this week. Despite the 0-5 record, Cincinnati should prove to be a formidable challenge against Baltimore.

After a blazing hot start to the season, the Ravens have failed to find consistency on offense in recent weeks. Quarterback Lamar Jackson has been hot and cold at times and could potentially be without his top two targets this week. Wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and tight end Mark Andrews are both listed as questionable to play on the injury report, though Andrews is more likely to play given his full participation in practice on Friday. If Brown is inactive, Jackson will have an opportunity to grow his connection with receivers such as Myles Boykin and Seth Roberts.

While there weren’t as many glaring communication problems for Baltimore on defense against Pittsburgh, the unit still struggled to get to the quarterback. The pass rush for the Ravens will have a golden opportunity against the injury riddled offensive line of the Bengals, however. With Patrick Onwuasor listed as questionable, either Kenny Young, Chris Board, or L.J. Fort will see extended playing time at inside linebacker next to Josh Bynes.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-5)

Rookie head coach Zac Taylor has yet to earn his first win with the Bengals. Facing Baltimore gives Cincinnati a chance to get their first win of the season while knocking down a divisional rival.

The Bengals remain without two of their top wide receivers on offense in A.J. Green and John Ross. Cincinnati’s offensive line continues to struggle while injuries pile up every week. Offensive tackles Andre Smith and Cordy Glenn have both been declared out for Sunday’s match up. Quarterback Andy Dalton will have to utilize the quick passing game by getting rid of the ball quickly against the Ravens.

On defense, Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap as well as fellow defensive end and defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow have been declared out. Dunlap has been a thorn in Baltimore’s side over the years, so his absence will surely be felt. With the 31st-ranked run defense, the Bengals will have their hands full with the second-ranked rushing offense of the Ravens.

Cleveland Browns (2-3)

Just as things seemed to start clicking for the team after their win over Baltimore in Week 4, Cleveland suffered their biggest loss of the season against the San Frisco 49ers on Monday Night Football. Life won’t be any easier for the Browns this week as they face the 4-1 Seattle Seahawks.

The Browns currently have the 22nd-ranked offense. The offensive line is an issue, quarterback Baker Mayfield is struggling mightily in his second year, and Odell Beckham Jr. has failed to record the stats he’s accustomed to through the first five weeks. With a hard stretch of games upcoming, an upset win against Seattle would be huge for Cleveland as they try to weather the storm and form their identity.

The Browns are still without their top two cornerbacks as both Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams are not expected to play against the Seahawks. Both players have now missed multiple weeks with a hamstring injury. Quarterback Russell Wilson is playing like the NFL MVP so far, which is troublesome for Cleveland’s injured secondary.

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4)

Despite only winning one game this season, the Steelers look to remain competitive in the AFC North by beating the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football this week.

Pittsburgh’s offense suffered a major blow last week as quarterback Mason Rudolph was the victim of a scary injury that left him unconscious on the field. Rudolph has been declared out for Sunday with a concussion. The Steelers are now down to their third quarterback this season. Devlin Hodges will make the start for Pittsburgh against the Chargers, but he will do so without wide receiver James Washington and running back Jaylen Samuels, who have both been declared out.

Inside linebacker Mark Barron has been declared out on defense and cornerback Steven Nelson is expected to be inactive as well. The defense has been a pleasant surprise and the strength of the team this season for the Steelers, specifically the pass defense which ranks 12th in the entire NFL. Pittsburgh’s secondary has a chance to prove their legitimacy against the sixth-ranked passing offense of Los Angeles this week.