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AFC North Preview: Week 11

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens (6-3)

The Ravens dropped to 6-3 after a loss to the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. The biggest loss on Sunday for Baltimore, however, was the loss of TE Nick Boyle for the season with a knee injury and DT Brandon Williams for the time being with an ankle injury. The Ravens will have to overcome injuries this week in order to beat the Titans and remain in the hunt for the AFC North.

With Williams and DE Calais Campbell likely to miss this Sunday’s game, Baltimore’s defense will be severely undermanned against RB Derrick Henry. Without those two last week, New England was able to run the ball at will for most of the game. The Ravens will have to prioritize stopping Henry by stacking the box, staying disciplined in gaps, and run blitzing.

Baltimore’s offense will have to find a new identity with the loss of Boyle after already losing All-Pro LT Ronnie Stanley earlier this year. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman will not be able to rely upon heavy formations as much now. Spreading defenses out and quick passes will have to be utilized more behind a battered offensive line.

Williams and Campbell are both listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game, while CB Jimmy Smith and ILB L.J. Fort are questionable.

Cleveland Browns (6-3)

The Browns scraped by the Texans with a 10-7 win last week to remain right in the thick of the AFC playoff hunt. This week they take on the 3-5-1 Eagles.

Cleveland has only managed to put up 16 points in the last two games combined, although adverse weather conditions played a major factor in both games. The Browns have leaned heavily on their rushing attack this season behind one of the league’s best offensive lines. Philadelphia’s defensive line will be a major test for them on Sunday, however.

Defensively, DE Myles Garrett continues to have a season worthy of Defensive Player of the Year, with 9.5 sacks with seven games to go. Garrett has the potential to wreck the game against Philadelphia’s offensive line.

G Wyatt Teller and LB Mack Wilson are both listed as questionable.

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-0)

The Steelers mopped the floor with the Bengals last week to remain the only undefeated team in the league. They will look to keep it that way against the 1-8 Jaguars this week.

Pittsburgh’s defense should have no problem dealing with Jacksonville’s offense, which ranks in the bottom 10 of the league in total yards and points, while the Steelers rank in the top five of both categories. Like Garrett for Cleveland, OLB T.J. Watt is having a Defensive Player of the Year caliber season as well with nine sacks.

Pittsburgh’s offense should face little adversity as well. The Jaguars have allowed the third-most points in the league on defense and the Steelers rank in the top 10 in points scored. Pittsburgh’s rushing attack has struggled this season, but the number of quality receivers that QB Ben Roethlisberger has at his disposal has made up for it, with quick passes being a major part of the offensive success.

RB Jaylen Samuels, RB Trey Edmunds, and LB Jayrone Elliott have all been declared out for this week’s game.

Cincinnati Bengals (2-6-1)

The Bengals were embarrassed by a divisional opponent for the second time this season last week as they lost 36-10 to the Steelers. They will look to bounce back and notch their third win of the season this week against Washington.

Cincinnati will be without RB Joe Mixon yet again this week after he was placed on injured reserve. The offensive line has been a major problem for the Bengals and rookie QB Joe Burrow all season, and it will be pushed to the limits this week against an elite defensive line led by rookie DE Chase Young.

WR Tee Higgins, WR Mike Thomas, OT Fred Johnson, G Alex Redmond, DT Margus Hunt, and DT Xavier Williams are all listed as questionable for Sunday.