After a three-way tie for first place last week, the AFC North has a new leader in the Cincinnati Bengals and along with the Pittsburgh Steelers, were the two teams that won games this week.
Nothing about the Bengals beating the Bills this week was pretty and it took overtime to get it done, but the Bengals were able to defeat the Bills 27-24 in overtime. After being elevated to the starting job after the injury to E.J. Manuel and the release of Jeff Tuel after his terrible performance against the Browns, Thad Lewis was able to come in and make some plays against a tough Bengals defense. In the end, the Bengals claim victory and take sole possession of first place with a 4-2 record with a game in Detroit against the Lions next week.
The Cleveland Browns were able to go into the half with a solid 17-7 lead, but the Lions came out in the second half and dominated the Browns and claim the win. The Lions scored 24 unanswered points behind some great play by Reggie Bush, Matthew Stafford and DeAndre Levy as well as the defensive line and shut the Browns down in the second half, which sends the Browns to a 3-3 record with a tough game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field next week.
The Ravens took on the Packers this week and while the game was close down to the wire, the Packers were able to hold off the Ravens 19-17, which causes the Ravens to fall to 3-3. The Ravens struggled to run the football and although Joe Flacco was able to move the ball, the Packers had a good balance of run and pass with Aaron Rodgers and Eddie Lacy that allowed them to win the game. The Ravens host the Steelers this coming week.
The Steelers were coming off of a bye week after an ugly month to start the season. They were riddled with injuries and trying to find answers with the two week break and at least for today, they found one. The Steelers were able to take control against the Jets and while Le’Veon Bell’s debut was hardly a memorable one, the Steeler offense was able to make enough plays with the defense in full control of the game, winning 19-6. As a result, the Steelers got their first win of the year and improve to 1-4 and get their chance to make a big move up in the division next week if they can beat the Ravens next week.
Even though there is a clear leader, even if only by one game, the AFC North got much closer this week with the Browns and Ravens losing while the Steelers were able to win. The Browns have a tough stretch the next few games and the Steelers have an opportunity to announce themselves in the division if they can win against the Ravens and then the Raiders the next two weeks. The Bengals have sole possession of first place and an incredibly talented team but their inconsistency at the quarterback position makes it incredibly difficult to know what to expect from them week to week.