The Baltimore Ravens had a real opportunity to create a solid lead for first place in the AFC North Division. But the Ravens were left with anguish last Sunday at home. Baltimore lost a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter before losing on a field goal as time expired.
The Ravens (7-3) now only have a half-game lead over Pittsburgh and Cleveland for first place. Baltimore’s opponent on Thursday night won’t make life much easier. The Bengals are as desperate as Baltimore is. Cincinnati was hamstrung by an 0-2 start that immediately put it behind the pace.
The Bengals looked to have steadied the ship before losing a heartbreaker at home last week. Cincinnati fell victim to the strong quarterback play of C.J. Stroud and lost to the up-and-coming Texans. The Bengals had won four games in a row before the loss to the Texans.
Cincinnati is now 5-4 and entering a stretch where it will have back-to-back division games to worry about. The Bengals want to keep their hopes of winning a division title alive. Beating Baltimore will have to be the start of that quest.
Steelers Hope To Break Second-Place Tie With Browns
The Steelers and Browns’ first meeting back in Week 2 lived up to the billing of a battle between historical rivals. Pittsburgh scored nine seconds in on an interception return by linebacker Alex Highsmith. It set the tone for a wild night.
The Browns lost running back Nick Chubb for the season due to a vicious leg injury. Pittsburgh would blow an early lead in the game and trailed Cleveland 22-19 entering the fourth quarter. The Steelers were able to get the go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth quarter when T.J. Watt returned a fumble 16 yards for a touchdown.
The rematch will be equally important for both sides. Cleveland and Pittsburgh are tied for second place. While both teams are flawed, each side has enough talent to possibly win the division. The 145th meeting between these franchises that are separated by 130 miles will be an exciting one.
Will Super Bowl Rematch Set Stage for Another Playoff Meeting?
The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t wallowed in self-pity following their Super Bowl LVII loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last season. The Eagles have been utilizing their strong play in the trenches to start off 8-1 and are in line to finish with the NFC’s top seed and the NFC East Division crown.
Philadelphia’s only weakness seems to have come from devastating injuries suffered in the secondary. Darius Slay has returned to the lineup, and that should help. Even without a bunch of Pro Bowl defensive backs, the Eagles should be able to be competitive with Kansas City’s offense.
The Chiefs’ receiving corps has left a lot to be desired this season. Kansas City’s typically top-notch offense has suffered from not having a consistent go-to receiver. While Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is still capable of making plays, Kansas City needs to play better to repeat as a champion. The Chiefs are 7-2 and would have the top seed in the AFC playoffs if the season started today.
Seahawks Look to Prey on Rams
Seattle can’t afford another letdown against Los Angeles. The Seahawks laid an egg against the Rams to open the season. Matt Stafford threw for 334 yards as Los Angeles picked up a 30-13 win over Seattle to open the year.
Both teams have gone in dramatically different directions since. Seattle is 6-3 and in a tie for first place with the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams are on a three-game losing streak and didn’t have Stafford in the lineup last week. Los Angeles will get Afford back this week.
The Seahawks have won four straight games and won’t want to halt the momentum with a loss to their NFC West rival.
Schedule Provides Vikings With Another Soft Opponent
While the Denver Broncos have looked better over the past few weeks, no one looking at recent sports updates thinks they are a Super Bowl contender. No one likely thinks that about Minnesota either. However, veteran quarterback Josh Dobbs has given the Vikings plenty of versatility on offense.
Minnesota has won five straight games and has moved into seventh place in the NFC standings. The Vikings have won their past two games by beating up teams from one of the weakest divisions in football, the NFC South. Minnesota must continue to stack up victories to stay in the race.
The Broncos have started to turn the tide after a problematic start to Sean Payton’s time as head coach. Denver has now won three straight games after beating Buffalo on a last-second field goal. The Broncos won after the Bills were flagged for having too many men on the field when Denver missed a potential game-winning field goal.
Dolphins Hope to Halt Spunky Raiders
The Miami Dolphins have made a habit of putting up a lot of points on bad teams this season. The Dolphins will have an exciting challenge against the Raiders. Black sports news shows that Miami wide receiver Tyreek Hill is on a pace that would make him the first receiver in NFL history to top 2,000 receiving yards.
The Dolphins’ offense has found it difficult to score against the league’s top teams. While Miami has put up 30 or more points during five of its six wins, the Dolphins have been limited to 20 or fewer points in all of their losses.
Las Vegas seems liberated since head coach Josh McDaniels was fired two weeks ago. The Raiders have picked up back-to-back wins against the New York Giants and Jets. Las Vegas has done so despite being forced to start rookie Aidan O’Connell at quarterback.
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