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AFC North Preview: Week 8

Another chapter in the NFL’s best rivalry

Pittsburgh Steelers v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens (5-1)

The Ravens return from their bye week to face the undefeated Steelers in a battle for first place in the AFC North.

Two of the league’s top defenses will go at it in this matchup of two NFL juggernauts. Baltimore’s offense has yet to hit its stride this season, and Pittsburgh’s ferocious front- seven will look to keep them from doing so this Sunday. Defensively, newly acquired edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue will make his debut for the Ravens.

Veteran RB Mark Ingram is doubtful to play, which means Gus Edwards and rookie J.K. Dobbins will carry the load on the ground. S Anthony Levine Sr. and CB Jimmy Smith are both questionable. Smith is vital to containing the many weapons the Steelers have at receiver.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-0)

The only remaining undefeated team in the NFL, Pittsburgh will look to remain that way while also keeping first place in the division this Sunday against their rivals.

The Steelers are coming off a close game against the Titans to face a team that has had an extra week of rest and preparation. QB Ben Roethlisberger has gotten rid of the football faster than anyone else in the league this season, which will be key to beating Baltimore’s patented blitzes. Meanwhile, on defense, Pittsburgh will have to contain QB Lamar Jackson and stop the run first and foremost, which should put the Ravens in undesirable situations against a deadly pass rush.

CB Mike Hilton and FB Derek Watt are both questionable to play while S Jordan Dangerfield, LB Ulysees Gilbert III, and DT Chris Wormley are out for Sunday’s matchup.

Cleveland Browns (5-2)

The Browns look to follow up last week’s victory over the Bengals with another strong performance against the Raiders in Week 8.

After losing star WR Odell Beckham Jr. to a torn ACL against the Bengals, QB Baker Mayfield went on to have his best performance in years by throwing for five touchdowns. Questions about whether or not Cleveland’s offense is better with Beckham have resurfaced now.

Mayfield will need to prove that last week wasn’t just a factor of playing a bad Cincinnati defense. TE Austin Hooper, G Wyatt Teller, and LB Jacob Phillips are all out against Las Vegas.

Cincinnati Bengals (1-5-1)

The Bengals lost yet another close game last week against the Browns and now must face a 5-1 Tennessee team looking to rebound after their first loss of the season.

QB Joe Burrow continues to defy expectations as a rookie, especially given the state of Cincinnati’s offensive line. Burrow is on pace to shatter several rookie passing records. The offense will be without RB Joe Mixon this week, so it will be up to Burrow to shoulder the load once again. Defensively, the Bengals lost DE Carlos Dunlap after he was traded to the Seahawks. WR John Ross has also spoken about his desire to be traded.

Mixon, T Bobby Hart, C B.J Finney, C Trey Hopkins, and T Jonah Williams are all out against the Titans. Ross is doubtful to play and CB Darius Phillips is questionable.