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AFC North Preview: Week 10

Taking a look ahead for the AFC North

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens (7-2)

The Baltimore Ravens maintained a two-game lead in the AFC North as they improved to 7-2 with a commanding 37-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 9. The Ravens now face two home divisional games in the span of five days, starting with the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Baltimore comfortably won the first meeting between the two in Week 4, but that was with rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson making an unexpected last-minute start in place of quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson has since returned to the lineup and is fresh off one of his better games of the season last week against the Arizona Cardinals. The Ravens scored 27 points against the top-ranked Browns’ defense last time around, but some of that was helped by short fields due to turnovers against a rookie quarterback in his first NFL start.

Baltimore had several notable names pop up on the injury report during the week, including cornerback Marlon Humphrey (hamstring), wide receiver Rashod Bateman (back), and running back Keaton Mitchell (hamstring). All three are listed as questionable. Meanwhile, right tackle Morgan Moses (shoulder) and free safety Marcus Williams (hamstring) were both full participants throughout the week. Morgan is listed as questionable while Williams was not listed with an injury designation against Cleveland.

Cleveland Browns (5-3)

Following a dominant 27-0 shutout of the Cardinals last week, the Browns will go on the road this week to face the Ravens in a high-stakes divisional showdown.

Cleveland will hope for a different result against Baltimore this time around with Watson at the helm against the Ravens’ defense. The Browns’ offensive line could present an issue against the team with the most sacks in the NFL, however, as left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. is currently on injured reserve with a knee injury suffered in Week 9. Cleveland was already without starting right tackle Jack Conklin who tore his ACL in the season opener. To make matters even worse, rookie right tackle Dawand Jones has been declared out of Sunday’s action with a knee and shoulder injury. Therefore, the Browns will have a new starter at each offensive tackle position. Both wide receivers David Bell (knee) and Marquise Goodwin (concussion) have also been ruled out.

Sunday will be the first time wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. faces his old team as he missed the Week 4 meeting with an ankle injury. Leading up to the game, Beckham iterated that there was no animosity on his end towards his former team.

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)

After a 20-17 win over the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football, the Pittsburgh Steelers will remain home this week to face the Green Bay Packers.

The Steelers’ offense under offensive coordinator Matt Canada has been a point of frustration all season long and will continue to be under a microscope following obvious annoyance from wide receiver George Pickens. The second-year wideout deleted all connections to Pittsburgh from his social media following the team’s game against the Titans, where he was held to negative yardage on two receptions. While Pickens claimed this move had nothing to do with football or any frustration on his part, it is something that bears monitoring going forward.

Another ongoing situation is the benching of right tackle Chuks Okorafor. According to Head Coach Mike Tomlin, the veteran lineman was benched for something he said following the team’s Week 8 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Rookie Broderick Jones will once again fill in at right tackle. The Steelers remain without free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick as he is sidelined with a hamstring injury. Defensive tackle Montravius Adams (ankle) is also out for Week 10’s game.

Cincinnati Bengals (5-3)

Winners of their last four games now, the Cincinnati Bengals will follow up their 24-18 statement win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football in Week 9 with a showdown against the Houston Texans at home this Sunday.

The Bengals have placed themselves squarely back in the mix of AFC contenders after a slow start to the year jeopardized their season. Quarterback Joe Burrow is playing as well as anyone at the position in the NFL now after a calf injury affected his on-field performance for much of the early season. Though it would be easy to do with a pivotal divisional road game against Baltimore next week, Cincinnati cannot afford to overlook the team with NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite C.J. Stroud at quarterback this week. They are operating with little room for error for the remainder of the season in a crowded conference.

The Bengals will be without two key players as both wide receiver Tee Higgins (hamstring) and defensive end Sam Hubbard (ankle) have been ruled out of Sunday’s game. Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is also listed as questionable to play with a back injury, meaning Burrow could be without his top two weapons in the passing game.