The Cincinnati Bengals have started out the season pretty much as bad as it could’ve started, but the rest of the AFC North is getting set for Week 2. The Baltimore Ravens and Browns are set to see if DeShone Kizer fares any better against the Ravens defense than Andy Dalton did. Le’Veon Bell looks to rebound after a disappointing start to the season.
Cleveland Browns (0-1) at Baltimore Ravens (1-0): Sunday, September 17th, 1:00 p.m. EST
Danny Woodhead put on IR
It was a quick start for Danny Woodhead. He recorded a run for four yards and three catches for 33 yards against the Bengals before hurting his hamstring. The Ravens quickly made the move to put Woodhead on IR. He will likely be their designated player to return meaning he can rejoin the team after their bye week when they take on the Green Bay Packers on November 19th.
The team activated recently claimed running back Jeremy Langford in his place, but Terrance West and Javorius Allen will likely take over most of the snaps at running back.
Woodhead signed a three-year deal with Baltimore this offseason after he was placed on IR last season with the Chargers.
DeShone Kizer gets crash course on AFC North defenses
In Week 1 Kizer showed he was up for the AFC North challenge when he kept pace with the Pittsburgh Steelers. This week won’t be any easier as he travels into Baltimore to take on the Ravens’ defense fresh off a shutout win over the Bengals.
Kizer has a few things going for him as the Browns look to actually score against the Ravens. The first being Joe Thomas to help protect against Terrell Suggs, who wreaked havoc against the Bengals last week. The rest of their offensive line isn’t too bad either, despite giving up seven sacks last week to the Steelers. Kizer is still working on holding the ball too long.
The other thing Kizer has on his side is Hue Jackson. Jackson is one of the better play callers in the NFL. He knows how to attack a defense properly. Last week he put together an offensive game plan that nearly upset the Steelers.
Whether the Browns get the upset rests entirely on how well Kizer protects the ball. Last week, Dalton had five turnovers against the Ravens allowing them to easily escape Cincinnati with the win. If Kizer protects the football, the Browns have a shot.
Browns to prove run defense is for real
Right now the Browns have the top ranked run defense. They are tied with the Cowboys after only allowing the Steelers and Bell to rush for 35 yards in Week 1. It is hard to say if Bell was up to speed after holding out the entire offseason, but Cleveland will have a chance to prove their run defense is much improved after last season.
The Ravens come in with the third-best rushing performance after Week 1. Baltimore ran it until the Bengals proved they could stop it, which never happened. They finished the day with 157 rushing yards. The Ravens are hoping West has quite the revenge game against the team that drafted him.
One thing is for sure. After this week we will know if this Browns’ run defense is the real deal.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) vs Minnesota Vikings (1-0): Sunday, September 17th, 1:00 p.m. EST
Steelers injury report filling up
Entering the first week of the season Pittsburgh boasted its health, but after a matchup with the Browns, several players are banged up. The list is highlighted by Stephon Tuitt who just signed a huge extension with the team. It appeared he was going to miss the season with a bicep injury, but he has a slim chance of playing this week. He will be back on the field at some point in the next few weeks.
Also recently acquired tight end Vance McDonald appeared on the injury report. He is dealing with a back injury after the team had a last-second trade to bring in the tight end who was likely going to be cut by the 49ers.
Also, Bud Dupree has yet to return to practice. He missed Week 1 against the Browns with shoulder injury, but he has been limited in practice since. Whether he plays on Sunday probably depends on if he becomes a full participant by Friday.
Can Le’Veon Bell bounce back against Vikings?
It was a disappointing start for the star running back. After spending the whole offseason holding out for a monster deal, he showed back up after the last preseason game under his franchise tag tender.
There were plenty of reports about how he looked like himself, and how he was going to get a regular work load, but it didn’t turn out that way. He got 10 carries for 32 yards and three catches for 15 yards receiving. A very disappointing start after saying he deserves more than whatever Pittsburgh offered him.
The Browns are under Gregg Williams now, and it appeared they sold out to stop the run, and make sure Ben Roethlisberger didn’t have the ability to throw deep. However, Bell is one of the premiere running backs in this league, and to be held to that total isn’t good at all.
It doesn’t get any easier against the Vikings who have one of the best defenses in the league led by Mike Zimmer. The Saints finished with 60 yards on 21 running plays against the Vikings for a 2.9 yard per carry average. Bell will have tough sledding to try and get back on track this week. It may be another bump in the road to him proving he deserves a huge contract again this upcoming offseason.