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AFC North Preview: Week 8

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

With a comfortable lead in the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens now have a bye week before playing the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football in Week 9. The bye will allow several key players to return from injury, such as cornerback Jimmy Smith and rookie wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-7)

The Bengals will travel overseas to London in search for their first win of the 2019 season under rookie head coach Zac Taylor. That search may continue into next week, however, as Cincinnati faces the 4-3 Los Angeles Rams.

The Bengals remain injury-stricken, with cornerbacks Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard, defensive end Carl Lawson, wide receiver A.J. Green, and offensive tackle Cordy Glenn all declared out for Sunday’s matchup against Los Angeles.

Cincinnati has allowed over 200 rushing yards in the last three games and currently rank dead last in the entire league in total defense.

Cleveland Browns (2-4)

Fresh off of their bye week, the Browns face what could be their hardest challenge of the season against the undefeated Patriots. Down by three games in the division, Cleveland has to make considerable ground to challenge Baltimore for the division title.

New England’s defense is off to a historic start through the first seven weeks, only allowing 6.9 points per game. Quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Browns offense must put an end to their season-long struggles if they want to have any shot against the Patriots.

Both Mayfield and New England’s defense lead the NFL in interceptions.

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4)

Pittsburgh has a prime opportunity to move into sole possession of second place in the AFC North as they play the winless Miami Dolphins this week on Monday Night Football.

Second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph will make his return after suffering a scary head injury against the Ravens in Week 5. No players have been ruled out for the Steelers, though linebackers Mark Barron and Ulysees Gilbert III, and running back Jaylen Samuels have been listed as questionable for Monday’s game.

The Steelers defense should continue it’s strong play against the poor offense of the Dolphins.