What a difference a week makes. Especially this year, when no team seems immune from an occasional upset.
The Cincinnati Bengals went into their bye week in last place in the AFC North. They are coming out in third place, a half game ahead of the Cleveland Browns, one-half game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and only one game behind the division-leading Baltimore Ravens.
Wow. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water.
The Miami Dolphins, they of the 2-7 record and owner of one of the worst defenses in football, completely stifled the mighty Baltimore Ravens Thursday night and came away with a 22-10 victory.
The Ravens, who fell to 6-3 with the loss, could manage only a single field goal through the first three quarters. Baltimore couldn’t run the ball until late, and didn’t do much in the passing game either.
The Dolphins jumped out to a 15-3 lead in the fourth quarter when Xavien Howard returned a fumble 49 yards for a touchdown, but the Ravens put together a 99-yard scoring drive to get back into contention. Unfortunately, Baltimore’s defense forgot to cover Miami receiver Albert Wilson, which resulted in a 64-yard gain, and Tua Tagovailoa’s 1-yard quarterback sneak put the game away.
Lions don’t lose
The Detroit Lions went into their game with the Pittsburgh Steelers as the only team in the NFL that had posted a loss in their first eight games. With Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on the Covid-19 list, Detroit made the most took advantage of the situation (sort of) to come away with a 16-16 tie.
Both teams had opportunities to come away with a victory in this one, but both teams continuously shot themselves in the foot. Steelers’ defensive end Cam Hayward summed it up best: “Ties suck.”
Cleveland gets embarrassed
The Browns probably would have been happy to come out of their game with New England with a tie. Instead, they got outplayed and outclassed and came away on the wrong end of a 45-7 score.
Cleveland lost quarterback Baker Mayfield to a knee injury and, in a game it played without running back Nick Chubb, could manage a total of only 217 yards. The Browns went 1 for 11 on third down.
Cincinnati gets a chance to right its ship after two straight losses when the Bengals head west to take on the Las Vegas Raiders, who are coming off a 41-14 beatdown at the hands of Kansas City on Sunday night.
The Raiders also came in to the matchup with a record of 5-4, and would seem to have a slight edge both offensively and defensively. But Cincinnati is actually listed as a slight one-point favorite as both teams try to step into the playoff picture.
Baltimore heads to Chicago to face a Justin Fields-led offense that seems to be gaining confidence each week. The Bears dropped a narrow 29-27 decision to the Steelers in Week 9 going into their bye week.
Cleveland plays host to Detroit as the Browns try to get the bad taste of the Patriot debacle out of their collective mouths. Mayfield expects to be ready to go by Sunday.
Pittsburgh also travels west when it visits the Los Angeles Chargers for the Sunday night game. The Chargers got off to a hot start with wins in four of their first five games, but have since dropped three of their last four, including last week’s 27-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.