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AFC North Preview: Week 10

NFL: New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens (6-2)

After defeating the previously undefeated New England Patriots, the Ravens now face the winless Cincinnati Bengals.

Rookie quarterback Ryan Finley will make his first career start against Baltimore on Sunday. The Ravens defense won’t have to deal with star wide receiver A.J. Green this week, but they will still have their hands full with wide receivers Tyler Boyd and Auden Tate. Tate gave Baltimore fits in their last match up with five receptions for 91 yards. The Ravens secondary is much stronger now, however, with the return of cornerback Jimmy Smith and the addition Marcus Peters.

Jackson rushed for a career high of 152 yards with a touchdown against Cincinnati in their first matchup of the season. Baltimore’s offense should be in for another big day on the ground against the 32nd-ranked rushing defense of the Bengals.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-8)

Cincinnati returns from their bye week with a new starter at quarterback after benching ninth-year quarterback Andy Dalton. Finley, selected in the fourth round of the draft, will make his first start at home against a red-hot Ravens team.

The Bengals will need to effectively run the ball to lessen the load on Finley. The problem with that, however, is the second-ranked run defense of Baltimore that limited Cincinnati’s offense to a mere 33 yards on the ground in their last meeting. Establishing the run will be critical to having any chance for the Bengals to steal their first win of the season against a divisional foe on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s defense will once again face the challenge of containing Jackson, which they have yet to effectively do the two times he has faced them in his career. Even if it means completely selling against the run, the Bengals cannot allow Jackson to run wild against them again, although some things are much easier said than done.

Cleveland Browns (2-6)

The Browns enter Week 10 on the heels of a disappointing loss to the Denver Broncos. Cleveland’s season has not gone as expected as the hopes of making the playoffs slips further away each week.

The Browns face a crossroads for their season this week against the 6-2 Buffalo Bills. Falling to 2-7 with a loss on Sunday could effectively end any playoff aspirations the team has remaining. Tensions could boil over with another loss as the growing frustration of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. continues to lurk around the corner.

Expect a run-heavy game plan featuring running back Nick Chubb on Sunday against the 20th-ranked run defense of the Bills. Chubb has been one of the few bright spots for Cleveland this year, and they should continue to rely on him as the focal point of the offense.

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4)

Despite losing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the second game of the season, Pittsburgh has somehow managed to stay within grasp of the division at 4-4 with second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph at the helm.

The Steelers defense has risen to the occasion of carrying the team so far this season. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has proven to be a fantastic pickup for the unit as he continues to make game-changing plays nearly every week. The defense will face a tough challenge this week against the Sean McVay offense of the Los Angeles Rams.

Rudolph has struggled as a starter in his second season, leading Pittsburgh to the 28th total offense in the NFL, a steep fall from recent years. The offense will be without running backs James Conner and Jaylen Samuels on Sunday and could potentially be without wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is listed as questionable.