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AFC North Preview: Week 5

Can the AFC North get back into the early race?

Syndication: USA TODAY Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

Baltimore Ravens (3-1)

After improving to 3-1 following their win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 4, the Baltimore Ravens will remain on the road to face the Pittsburgh Steelers this week.

The Ravens received good news on the injury front for once, with several previously injured players practicing this week including cornerback Marlon Humphrey, wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman, safety Marcus Williams, and left tackle Ronnie Stanley. Right tackle Morgan Moses has been listed as doubtful for Sunday’s action after leaving last week’s game against the Browns with a shoulder injury.

Stanley returning to the lineup would be a sigh of relief for Baltimore as they get ready to face the deadly outside linebacker duo of T.J. Watt and Alex Smith this Sunday. If Stanley plays but Moses is unable to go, then the Ravens could opt to move Patrick Mekari over to right tackle in his place instead of turning to the second-year Daniel Faalele. Slowing the Steelers’ vaunted pass rush is pivotal for the offense to find consistent success.

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2)

After an embarrassing blowout loss to the Houston Texans last week, Pittsburgh Head Coach Mike Tomlin will be looking for his squad to rebound against a divisional rival this Sunday when Baltimore comes to town.

Quarterback Kenny Pickett suffered a knee injury in the loss to the Texans but has practiced this week and is expected to suit up on Sunday. The sputtering Steelers’ offense will face a Ravens’ defense that ranks No. 3 in total yards allowed through four weeks of the season. Pittsburgh will be without one of their top offensive players as tight end Pat Freiermuth has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

The clearest path to a Week 5 victory is for Watt and Highsmith to wreak havoc against a banged-up offensive line for the Ravens, limiting quarterback Lamar Jackson and potentially forcing turnovers.

Cincinnati Bengals (1-3)

The Cincinnati Bengals dropped to 1-3 after suffering their worst loss of the season against the Tennessee Titans in Week 5. The Bengals will now travel to face the Arizona Cardinals.

Cincinnati’s offense has continued to struggle through the first four weeks of the season — an issue exacerbated by quarterback Joe Burrow’s calf injury. After suffering a rib injury against the Titans, wide receiver Tee Higgins is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, although the fourth-year playmaker is expected to try and play through the pain.

On defense, defensive end Trey Hendrickson popped up on the injury report with a back injury during the week and is listed as questionable against Tennessee. Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie (back) and Cam Taylor-Britt (concussion) are also listed as questionable while linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither has been declared out.

Cleveland Browns (2-2)

Following their 28-3 loss to Baltimore, Cleveland will look to heal up on a bye week before their game against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6. The Browns will hope to have quarterback Deshaun Watson back in the starting lineup when they return to the field after he missed Week 4 with a shoulder injury. Myles Garrett is another player worth monitoring as the star defensive end was spotted in a walking boot following the team’s game against the Ravens.