The AFC North will all be on the road Sunday in Week 6. The Ravens will be looking to get their season back on track against a desperate New York team. The Browns have a rare chance for a win this week. Pittsburgh is getting a few players back from injury, but will it be enough to survive a trap game against Miami?
The Baltimore Ravens (3-2) at the New York Giants (2-3): Sunday, October 16, 1:00 p.m. ET
The Ravens could be without a few key players Sunday. Elvis Dumervil’s return was short lived. John Harbaugh said the strength in Dumervil’s foot isn’t there, and he won’t play until he’s ready.
Several more players are doubtful Including C.J. Mosley, Marshal Yanda, Steve Smith Sr. and Ronnie Stanley. Of those four, Stanley was the only one to practice on Friday which means he is probably the only one with a chance to play.
If Stanley, Yanda, and Smith miss Sunday’s contest with the Giants, the Ravens will have a tall task in getting their offense back on track.
After starting the season with three wins, the Ravens have dropped two straight in dramatic fashion. This led to the team firing offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. It is now a new offensive era for the Ravens that may look more like the past era.
Part of the reason the Ravens made the move was the obvious lack in balance from their offense. The Ravens have run effectively the past two weeks, but it was inexplicably abandoned in both games.
Expect to see a lot more of the run setting up the playaction passing game. Terrance West has been running hard since the team handed him the starting job, and if he continues it’ll open up big plays down field for Breshad Perriman and Mike Wallace.
The Ravens defense shouldn’t have too much trouble with the Giants who have struggled in recent weeks on offense, but it’ll help if the Giants are forced to be one dimensional because the Ravens jump out to an early lead.
Both teams are desperate for this win. It may come down to which team wants it more, or more realistically a big turnover late in the game.
The Cleveland Browns (0-5) at the Tennessee Titans (2-3): Sunday, October 16, 1:00 p.m. ET
Joel Bitonio was placed on injured reserve this week, further damaging Cleveland’s depth. Bitonio was one of the best offensive linemen not named Joe Thomas on the Browns, so losing him for either an extended period of time, or even the season, is a pretty significant blow.
Josh McCown was also declared to be out of Sunday’s game. Cody Kessler, however, is ready to start with Kevin Hogan, fresh off the practice squad, as his back up. While the backup quarterback usually isn’t important enough to note, with the Browns, there's a chance we may end up seeing Hogan a little bit.
Joe Haden was a late addition to the injury report when his hamstring injury flared up. The coaching staff is confident he will be able to go, but it wasn’t a good sign that he wasn’t able to practice on Friday.
The road to 0-16 is a long one with few chances to get an elusive win. The Titans represent one of those chances.
It’s going to be a rough season for Cleveland, and we all were sure of that after Robert Griffin III went down in Week 1. They’ve played hard though each week. Hue Jackson has made sure these players aren’t quitting.
The roster though just isn’t loaded enough to compete with many teams right now. The Titans though may be a beatable team if the Browns get a few bounces to go their way.
The major issue is Tennessee is committed to running the ball with DeMarco Murray who is proving Philedalphia and Chip Kelly were just misusing him. The Browns only give up 3.9 yards per carry on the season. Whoever comes out on top in that matchup could end up winning the game.
Both teams are relying on their run games to carry their offenses. Neither team wants their young quarterback to have to throw the ball too much and make mistakes. This has all the makings of an old school ground and pound game.
If the Browns can’t pull this one out it’ll put more pressure on each of their remaining games as the team tries to avoid 0-16.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) at the Miami Dolphins (1-4): Sunday, October 16, 1:00 p.m. ET
The good news for Pittsburgh is they get Eli Rogers and Robert Golden back after missing a few weeks. The bad news is Ryan Shazier, Cameron Heyward, Cody Wallace and Marcus Gilbert are all out.
Rogers is coming back at the right time as Markus Wheaton is out and Sammie Coates is questionable with a swollen hand. The Steelers wide receiver depth is in serious trouble and will need someone to step up as Antonio Brown has struggled with defenses rolling coverages over to him to encourage Ben Roethlisberger to go elsewhere with the ball.
The Steelers have a habit of dropping a game against a bad team every so often. It happened last year against the Ravens twice. This week the Steelers are heavy road favorites against a Miami team that has looked less than stellar so far. Their lone win has come against the Browns and it took them overtime to win that.
On paper it looks like this should be a complete blow out for the Steelers (and it probably will), but games with road teams being favored by a lot usually makes the home team play harder. Maybe it’s out of pride or just because the teams are at home, but it happens.
Something that could help the Dolphins is getting Arian Foster back. Foster is a game time decision, and he could spark the running game for Miami. The Dolphins also have plenty of weapons at the reciever position. Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills are as talented as they come.
The biggest issue holding Miami back is Ryan Tannehill being the farthest thing from a consistent quarterback. Having all these weapons doesn’t mean anything if the quarterback can’t get the ball to them.
This is all hypothetical though. The Steelers are just a few weeks removed from falling to the Eagles in a trap game. The Steelers shouldn’t have let their guard drop that quickly.