Week 16 is here in the NFL and the regular season is almost over. While the Ravens and Browns face off in Baltimore this weekend, the Browns take on another tough task.
Baltimore Ravens (4-10) vs Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)
It doesn't take a mathematician to figure out that the Ravens are done this season. They still have one thing to play for though, and that is to upset a team in the playoff race and maybe ruin their season along the way. This week, the Ravens are set to play the Steelers who are currently in the playoffs as the sixth seed with the Jets nipping at their ankles. A Ravens win would certainly complicate things for Pittsburgh, but even if they do somehow get an upset it then falls on New York to take care of New England.
Ravens looking toward draft
The Ravens will have their first top five pick since 2000 in the 2016 NFL draft, unless they manage to win a game or two to finish the season. Unlike some of the teams sitting near the top of the draft, the Ravens have quite a few talented player, most of whom are currently residing on the Injured Reserve list. That means come next season the Ravens will be getting some key contributors back along with a top 5 talent. Looking at where they are now, they have two major areas that need attention, and those areas are wide receiver and defensive back. With Steve Smith Sr. probably on his way out and rookie Breshad Perriman only being one man, they're going to need more weapons around Joe Flacco. However, the defensive backs have been a clear Achilles heel of this defense as they have been routinely torched by whatever quarterback they face.
The streak of good fortune continues for the Steelers as they seem to be getting healthy at the perfect time, but one name was added to their injury report as Mike Mitchell missed practice due to a shoulder injury. The Steelers can almost afford to sit a reasonable number of starters who are dealing with injuries, but, when that happens, teams are most likely to be upset.
DeAngelo Williams is the key to the Steelers' season
Last season when the Steelers lost Le'Veon Bell in the final week of the season, their offense sputtered out of control in their Wild Card playoff game. They lost that extra threat that made their offense so potent, but this year DeAngelo Williams has saved Pittsburgh. He flashed his ability in the first two games of the season during Bell's suspension, and has kept the Steelers on course after Bell's season ended against Cincinnati in Week 8. Williams has scored nine touchdowns and rushed for 754 yards in the absence of Bell. They aren't special numbers, but the Steelers having a threat out of the backfield has worked wonders for this offense.
Cleveland Browns (3-11) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-5)
Browns' Cameron Erving to start rest of season
Browns guard John Greco was placed on injured reserve with a sprained MCL, but with that loss comes an opportunity for the Browns' rookie guard to gain some valuable playing time. Cameron Erving has had a rough rookie season thus far, and it doesn't help that many fans questioned the pick initially, but with Alex Mack potentially going to opt out of his contract, the Browns decided to draft a possible franchise center before they had to. Now they're hoping with some more game reps and an upcoming offseason to work on his craft and build his strength, he can grow into that role.
Browns place former Bengals WR on IR, re-sign Jayson DiManche
It wasn't long ago that the Browns pirated Andrew Hawkins away from the Bengals, a move that many fans remember given the cult status Hawkins had achieved in his time with the Bengals. Now, his season has come to an end due to a concussion. It also puts an end to a very disappointing year for him as he only reached 276 yards on 27 catches in 8 games. Hawk missed all other games due to two concussions sustained during the season, one of which put him into the hospital. The Browns used the roster spot created by the Hawkins move to re-sign Jayson DiManche, the former Bengals linebacker, who the Browns also signed ahead of a matchup with the Bengals earlier this season.