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State of AFC North: Poor Browns; Steelers banged up; Ravens look to snap back

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Cleveland is the first stop for Tom Brady’s revenge tour. Steelers will be missing quite a few players Sunday. And, Baltimore looks to get back on track against Washington.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Miami Dolphins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens and Steelers come into Week 5 tied for the division lead. The Browns, meanwhile, remain the only winless team in the NFL. The Ravens look to rebound from their first loss with a matchup against Washington. The Steelers host the Jets, and they hope to get Le’Veon Bell more involved. Cleveland is set to become the first stop on Tom Brady’s tour of revenge. Poor Cleveland.

Baltimore Ravens (3-1) vs Washington (2-2): Sunday, October 9, 1:00 p.m. ET

Ravens send tight end to injured reserve

The Ravens have placed tight end Maxx Williams on injured. Williams is dealing with a knee injury that needs surgery. What was once a position of great depth is thinning out quickly. The Ravens also lost Benjamin Watson before the season began.

The Ravens will likely be without their talented rookie offensive tackle, Ronnie Stanley, for another week. Here is Baltimore’s Week 5 injury report.

After cutting Justin Forsett this week, it has been assumed Terrance West will be handling a load of the running back duties. When Kenneth “Can I Call You Ken?” Dixon returns however it may end up being more of a split. Dixon impressed the Ravens throughout the offseason, and he was having a productive preseason before his unfortunate injury. The Ravens are probably ready for that two headed monster to start producing from the back field, but Dixon may have to wait another week.

Who has the edge in Baltimore’s match up with Washington?

Washington is a similar team to the Raiders, the team that knocked off the undefeated Ravens last week. They have a good offense and mediocre defense. The Raiders got quite a few breaks from their special teams and defense in order to pull off the upset. Washington may need those as well.

The Raiders were also able to put pressure on Joe Flacco last week. The Raiders only managed two sacks, but had seven quarterback hits. Washington will have to create similar pressure. Baltimore has also found its running game in West, and stopping him is a huge concern for Washington’s poor defense who hasn’t slowed down anyone running the ball yet.

Washington comes in with a high powered offense headlined by Jordan Reed, who is fresh off a two touchdown game against the Browns. Whether Baltimore wins could come down to how well the Ravens cover him throughout the game.

It is quite possible Washington can pull off the upset against Baltimore, but they will need a huge effort from their defense to make it happen. Baltimore has to correct its streak of slow offensive starts if they want to hold of Washington. Something has to give.

Cleveland Browns (0-4) vs New England Patriots (3-1): Sunday, October 9, 1:00 p.m. ET

All eyes on Browns for trade deadline

Rumors are rumors, and a lot of times they should be taken with a grain of salt. That being said, it is fun to speculate on the plentiful rumors surrounding the Browns. The Browns have supposedly made Joe Haden and Joe Thomas available for trade.

Thomas isn’t surprising. The Browns almost traded him last year to the Broncos, but the deal didn’t come together before the deadline was over. It’s pretty insane that Thomas was a few hours away from being a member of the eventual Super Bowl champions, but instead he was destined for mediocrity with Cleveland.

Haden is semi surprising though. Although, any aging vet of value may be available for the right price for the rebuilding Browns. Haden is no longer in the conversation as the top corner in the league. He struggled with injuries and his play for the past two seasons. He has been solid so far this season, but it would be interesting to see what Cleveland could get for Haden.

Browns feel ready for Patriots

This is funny; there is NO way the Browns are ready for the Patriots.

Nothing can prepare Cleveland for the storm of revenge that is coming from the northeast. While the east coast is dealing with Hurricane Matthew, Cleveland is boarding up its windows for Hurricane Brady.

FirstEnergy Stadium will be the first stop on Tom Brady’s revenge tour. Brady is returning from his four game suspension connected to Deflategate. A suspension that was overturned prior to last season, but reinstated this offseason. The NFL suspended Brady and punished the Patriots even though they had very little proof to back up their claims. Anyone who is really objective about the situation and has looked into it knows the Patriots and Brady got screwed. Not only did they get screwed, but the media and public have branded them with the cheater tag again. Does anyone remember what happened the last time this happened? Cough, (18-1) cough.

As for the game, Brady comes back to an offense set up much like the one when the Patriots almost claimed history. The Patriots added a second tight end in Martellus Bennett to go along with Rob Gronkowski. Not to mention the Browns have been terrible at covering tight ends. The most compelling story from this game is if Cleveland can cover the 10.5 spread. Probably not... Probably not.

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) vs New York Jets (1-3): Sunday, October 9, 1:00 p.m. ET

Pittsburgh banged up for New York

Pittsburgh has ruled out 9 players for their game against the Jets. The most notable being Ryan Shazier, Marcus Gilbert, Eli Rogers, Robert Golden and Justin Gilbert.

Shazier will miss his second straight game with a knee injury, and that is a huge blow to that defense. Marcus Gilbert’s ankle will prevent him from suiting up which will hurt against the Jets front seven that is very talented. Rogers and Justin Gilbert’s absences are more notable for depth reasons.

Without Justin Gilbert the Steelers are down to three corners. Golden’s absence means another start for Shamarko Thomas, but the Steelers secondary overall is pretty thin. Luckily for them they are going up against Ryan Fitzpatrick who has thrown nine interceptions over the past two weeks.

The Steelers have been dealing with injuries for a few weeks, but it didn’t slow them down last week when they obliterated the Chiefs.

Steelers expand offense with Le’Veon Bell back

The Steelers are pretty happy to have Bell back. After piling up over 100 total yards in his debut last week. It shows just how much he opens up the playbook, but now the Steelers are looking to expand it further because of him. Bell is one of those rare every down backs that has been lost in this era of running back by committee.

Bell’s ability to create space in the open field opens up possibilities in the short passing game, but the threat of him being able to run in between the tackles means defenses can’t lock in on one way to slow him down. Adding in a few plays to make teams defend Bell across the field could help open up the rest of the offense as well.

Antonio Brown has been doing his thing, but no player has stepped up to fill the hole left by Martavis Bryant, yet. Some space could open up for these players though with the possibility of eight man boxes to slow down Bell. That combined with defenses already rolling coverages to Brown creates constant single coverage for everyone else on the field.

The Steelers will need their receivers to produce against a Jets’ secondary that has given up tons of yards through the air. And, to make things easier for the Steelers, Darrelle Revis is doubtful to play as he’s dealing with an injury.