The Bengals had a lot of positive movement in the AFC North in Week 5, as Cleveland took an early bye week, Baltimore traveled to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers for the first time this year, and all the while, Cincinnati finally gets a few questions answered in Arizona.
Still a lot of season left, but after Week 5, the AFC North race got a lot tighter. Only a one-game difference between each of the four teams.
Baltimore falls short in the Steel City
Not much good for the Ravens happened in Pittsburgh, as they couldn’t find any answers against the Steelers after an early Justice Hill 14-yard TD run. That was the highlight of the day for the Ravens.
After that, it was a blocked punt and lost fumble for the Ravens, and on the flip side, a blocked punt for a safety and a recovered fumble, and a first-career INT for the Steelers.
TJ Watt continued to shine as he took down Lamar late to clinch the game and recovered a fumble on the previous drive.
Meanwhile, OBJ still struggling with injuries, as he briefly left in the second quarter with a leg injury. Both teams sitting at 3-2 now approaching a big Week 6 as Baltimore travels to London to face the Titans and Pittsburgh takes a break with a bye.
Cincinnati Tacks on a ‘W’ in Glendale
The Bengals were in Arizona to face the Cardinals looking for a much-needed win. They had a lot of pending questions heading into the game. While a couple of those questions are still pending, most of them were answered with emphasis.
While Burrow is still recovering from a calf injury, he showed he’s feeling a lot better. In Arizona, Burrow showed off some improved mobility and had his first explosive play to Ja’Marr Chase.
QB1 finished with over 300 yards passing and three TDs, each one to Ja’Marr, and two of them were because Burrow was able to move around and buy time for his buddy to get open.
On top of those three touchdowns, Chase had nearly 200 yards receiving and a franchise-record 15 receptions. He continues to shine as he collects one record after another.
Defensively, Hendrickson proved himself to be one of the most dangerous pass rushers in the league currently, as he gets 2.5 more sacks, one being a forced fumble, to bring his total to six on the year. He wasn’t the only one who shined, however.
Cam Taylor-Britt snagged his first NFL touchdown with a pick-six, while Germaine Pratt secured an INT late in the game.
As a whole, I still think the Bengals defense has some question marks. With a handful of studs and a number of rising stars, they still gave up a few more big plays than you want to see. I would also like to see them blitz a little more. They definitely pressured Dobbs a handful of times, causing turnovers, but what would it look like if we doubled that amount of pressure? This defense could be a force to be reckoned with.
With this win, they now have some momentum heading into Week 6 to host the Seahawks.
Cleveland rests up with a Bye
The Dawg Pound was quiet this week as the Brownies had an early bye week. After getting throttled by the Ravens, it was a good week to have a bye to get rested up and hit the reset button.
In the last few weeks, the Browns haven’t been able to catch a break, as Nick Chubb suffered a season-ending knee injury, followed by Deshaun Watson missing Week 4 vs. Baltimore due to a shoulder injury. With Watson out, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, a rookie out of UCLA, had a rough game. He finished with just 121 yards and three INTs.
The Browns hope to be rested up for a huge Week 6 home game vs. the 49ers, possibly the hottest team in the NFL.
With each of the four North teams within a game of each other now, Week 6 renders to be another big week with each team having something to prove. The Ravens are in London to face the Titans, the Browns host the 49ers, and the Bengals host a Seahawks team that’s fresh off a bye and has won three straight.
The latest odds to win the division via DraftKings Sportsbook still have the Bengals in last place at +475 odds. The Ravens (+140) lead the way, followed by the Browns (+275) and Steelers (+350).
Who do you think will ultimately win the North? Give us your prediction in the comments section!