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AFC North Preview: Week 7

Previewing the week ahead for the AFC North

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens (4-2)

The Baltimore Ravens improved to 4-2 with a victory over the Tennessee Titans in London. They will now host the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

The Ravens have a chance to cement their place as one of the best teams in the NFL against the 5-1 Lions this week after an uneven six weeks to start the season. It will be a clash of two of the league’s brightest young coaches as Detroit offensive coordinator Ben Johnson’s No. 3 ranked offense takes on Baltimore defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald’s No. 2 ranked defense. On offense, the Ravens will look to bounce back in the red zone after only converting once for a touchdown in nine trips over the past two weeks.

In terms of injuries, outside linebacker Odafe Oweh returned to practice after missing several weeks with an ankle injury suffered in Week 2 and could potentially play on Sunday. Meanwhile, free safety Marcus Williams is not expected to play after suffering a hamstring injury in last week’s game against the Titans. Geno Stone will fill in for the veteran on the backend.

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2)

The Pittsburgh Steelers return from their Week 6 bye to face the Los Angeles Rams on the road this Sunday.

The Steelers’ struggling offense should get a boost this week with the return of wide receiver Diontae Johnson. Johnson has been sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered in the team’s Week 1 game against the San Francisco 49ers. Pittsburgh is also waiting on the return of third-year tight end Pat Freiermuth to the lineup as he continues to deal with a hamstring injury that has caused him to miss the last two games. Freiermuth appeared to suffer a setback during the week after practicing in full on Wednesday and is not expected to play this Sunday.

The defense received a scare this week when outside linebacker T.J. Watt missed practice on Thursday with a heel injury. The injury is considered minor, however, and the star edge rusher is expected to play on Sunday against one of the league’s best offensives.

Cleveland Browns (3-2)

Fresh off a huge upset win over the 49ers, the Cleveland Browns will now travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts on Sunday.

One of the biggest stories of the season so far has been the play of the Browns’ defense under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Through the first six weeks of the season, Cleveland’s defense has been the best in the NFL and was the driving catalyst for the team’s victory over San Francisco last week. The unit will get to face backup quarterback Gardner Minshew for the Colts this Sunday.

The Browns will be hoping for the return of quarterback Deshaun Watson this week against Indianapolis but his status is still up in the air following returning to practice this week. Watson has missed the team’s previous two games with a shoulder injury, leaving rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson and P.J. Walker to fill in. With Watson listed as questionable for this week, Walker is in line to start again this week if Watson is unable to suit up and play on Sunday.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-3)

The Cincinnati Bengals will enjoy a bye week following their win over the Seattle Seahawks last week. The week off comes at a good time for the Bengals as quarterback Joe Burrow continues to heal his injured calf. After looking much closer to his normal self last week against the Seahawks, a week of rest could do wonders for Burrow going forward as the team looks to reestablish their place as one of the top dogs in the AFC.