Baltimore Ravens (9-2)
After crushing the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night, the Ravens will now face the 10-1 San Francisco 49ers in the game of the week.
The No. 1 ranked offense of Baltimore will face it’s biggest challenge to date against the vaunted No. 1 defense of the 49ers. The Ravens are currently averaging 210.5 rushing yards a game, the best in the NFL by a wide margin, which bodes well against San Francisco’s 19th-ranked run defense. Expect a run-heavy game plan for Baltimore in the rainy conditions on Sunday.
On the other side, the 49ers own the second-ranked rushing offense, averaging 145.6 rushing yards a game. The Ravens have the third-ranked run defense, however, so San Francisco may have to rely more on the arm of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to win the game against a Baltimore defense that has quietly dominated in recent weeks.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-11)
After suffering their 11th loss of the season without a win, the Bengals announced that they will return to veteran quarterback Andy Dalton as the starter in place of Ryan Finley.
Year No. 1 for head coach Zac Taylor could not have started any worse. Taylor will return to Dalton to hopefully avoid the dreaded 0-16 record that looms larger and larger every week.
Cincinnati will face the 4-7 New York Jets this week. After a disastrous start to the season, the Jets have begun to turn things around by winning four games in a row, their most recent win being a 34-3 blowout against the Oakland Raiders.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)
The Bengals weren’t the only team to make a change at quarterback as the Steelers announced that rookie Devlin “Duck” Hodges will start in place of Mason Rudolph this week.
Hodges came in to help lead Pittsburgh to a narrow victory last week against Cincinnati after Rudolph was benched. The Steelers hope to remain in playoff contention as a wild card team and improving to 7-5 with a win over the Cleveland Browns would go a long way in doing so.
Things ended ugly the last time these two teams met in Week 11, ending in the season-long suspension of Browns defensive end Myles Garrett and several other suspensions and fines for other players involved in the scuffle on the field. Rudolph had his worst performance of the year against Cleveland, leading to a 21-7 loss.
Cleveland Browns (5-6)
After winning three games in a row, the Browns have clawed their way back into serious playoff contention.
Cleveland feels as if they were wronged with the suspension of Myles Garrett while Rudolph got away with just a fine, so they will be looking to embarrass Pittsburgh on the field again this Sunday, even if Rudolph is no longer the starting quarterback for the Steelers.
The Browns defense will dodge WR JuJu Smith-Schuster as he has been declared out for Sunday’s game with a knee injury. RB James Conner is listed as questionable as well, meaning Pittsburgh would be without their top-two offensive playmakers.