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AFC North Preview: Week 3

Looking around the AFC North ahead of Week 3

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens (2-0)

The Baltimore Ravens will look to turn the page to the Indianapolis Colts at home this Sunday after a divisional win on the road over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2.

The Ravens will enter Week 3 with a number of new injuries as wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and outside linebacker Odafe Oweh both suffered ankle injuries that took them out of last Sunday’s game. It is unclear how much time either player will miss. Meanwhile, defensive back Ar’Darius Washington was placed on injured reserve with a chest injury, and running back Justice Hill is expected to miss some time with a toe injury. Baltimore signed veteran running back Kenyan Drake to their practice squad following the injury to Hill.

The Ravens will have to prepare for two separate quarterbacks this week going into their matchup with the Colts as rookie fourth-overall pick Anthony Richardson suffered a concussion during the team’s Week 2 victory over the Houston Texans, leaving his status for this Sunday up in the air as he remains in the concussion protocol. Veteran journeyman Gardner Minshew led Indianapolis to a win with an impressive performance after Richardson exited the game.

Cleveland Browns (1-1)

The Cleveland Browns will return home to face the Tennessee Titans this Sunday after falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football.

Worse than the loss itself for the Browns in Week 2 was the horrific knee injury to star running back Nick Chubb. This is the second devastating injury to the same knee that Chubb has suffered, the first coming in college at Georgia in 2015. Chubb will miss the remainder of the 2023 season and could require multiple surgeries. Cleveland reunited with veteran running back Kareem Hunt this week, although Jerome Ford is expected to be the team’s starter. The second-year running back notched 106 rushing yards on 16 carries against the Steelers on Monday.

The Browns will look to bounce back this week against the Titans who are fresh off a victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 2. Cleveland quarterback Deshaun Watson continues to struggle since returning to the field following an 11-game suspension in 2022 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. The Browns will need better play from their $230 million quarterback in order to become true contenders in a crowded AFC.

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)

Fresh off a divisional win, the Steelers will now travel to Las Vegas to face the Raiders on Sunday Night Football.

Despite getting the victory over Cleveland on Monday night, Pittsburgh left the game with a litany of concerns regarding the offense’s continued struggles. The Steelers’s offense, led by offensive coordinator Matt Canada, currently ranks at the bottom of the league in rushing and passing efficiency.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh suffered another injury scare on defense when All-Pro free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick left the game and was taken to a hospital for a chest injury. Luckily, the team received good news regarding Fitzpatrick and he said that he will play against the Raiders this week. The Steelers are already without defensive tackle Cam Heyward, one of their best defensive players and leaders, for the foreseeable future.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-2)

Like last season, the Bengals started the season slow, currently finding themselves in an 0-2 hole with both losses coming in the division. Cincinnati will look to stop their skid at home against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football.

The major difference between the team that was able to crawl back from a rough start to the season last year to make an AFC Championship appearance and this year is the health of quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow reaggravated a calf injury that held him out of training camp at the end of the game against Baltimore.

It is unclear if Burrow will be available when the Bengals play the Rams on Monday, but Head Coach Zac Taylor iterated that things are looking positive when speaking on The Rich Eisen Show. Cincinnati will need their quarterback in order to stop from going 0-3 against a Los Angeles team, led by red-hot quarterback Matt Stafford, that appears much better than most predicted heading into the season.