Week 9 NFL Insider Notes: Steelers own AFC North, as the Ravens look broken, James Conner a MVP Dark Horse

Week 9 NFL Insider Notes: Steelers own AFC North, as the Ravens look broken, James Conner a MVP Dark Horse

I'll get out of here a bit – the Pittsburgh Steelers will win the AFC North. Once again.

Her systematic rapping of the Ravens on Sunday in Baltimore, in a game that was not nearly as close as the 23-16 score suggests, was her last statement of intent that they were not actually the team that stumbled through a team September included an uninspired loss to the Ravens at home. However, they have become a much more balanced team on both sides of the ball, having the most talents in this division, and will be lining up at least one playoff game.

There are a few minor things at AFC North. The Steelers own the Bengals. And the Bengals have more than the ravens at all. And everyone owns the Browns. It's going to be this season again and probably will do so in the years to come. And in the evening their season series with Baltimore and with a victory against the Bengals already in the bag and a 1-0 draw against the Browns – well, the math adds up. At 5-2-1, the Steelers pulled forward; The Ravens (4-5) and Browns (2-5-1) will not catch them, and if you think that the Bengals (5-3) will be able to defeat Pittsburgh at a big point, well, You have it I have not paid much attention to AFC North.

The dirty little secret of the whole time was that there was no way the Ravens, 7-25 against playoff teams of 2013-17 and 1-5 against teams that were just in the playoffs to sweep the Steelers. Pittsburgh has better talent in virtually every position group. Joe Flacco's decay and inability to compete against decent opponents is well documented, and Baltimore has no real explosive poker player on either side of the ball. This is what they have been since their last Super Bowl win, and massive changes are taking place in Baltimore.

But they would not beat Pittsburgh – at home or on Mars – without starting an attack on Sunday. What really matters about their season – and possibly the massive overhaul beginning with the entry into round one Lamar Jackson – is the game of Week 11 against the Bengals, the team that has finished its playoff hopes for a quarter-final – play forever in week 17 a year ago and the team that has influenced Baltimore's season so often for the worst.

If the Ravens lose this game – which would set a record of 4-6 and an untenable record of 1-4 – they might also be preparing for the 2019 draft. This game is everything, one that could be the epitaph of the Flacco / John Harbaugh era should they lose it. This would effectively nullify their wildcard tiebreaker opportunities. It would be a fourth loss in a row after a 4-2 start. The game is everything.

Baltimore says goodbye and licks his wounds. Since I have reported chronologically, they can not defend screens, check-downs, cycle routes, back roads, for which linebackers are required, or defend security measures in defense of the pass. You can not do it. Even with such a talented group as Pittsburgh, you do not have to shoot deep and risk venting throws and interceptions. Just throw 60-75 percent of your passports on your back and your tight ends and bleed Baltimore slowly.

The Steelers dominated the third down (10 for 16) and possession time (36: 29-23: 31), and the Ravens offense was lukewarm and uninspired again as the Steelers delivered another 20 games. Opposite time of possession during Baltimore's defeat: 36:29, 34:01, 33:31; His offense is still one of the least productive in the NFL, and his aging is far too long in the field. Opposing QBs on Passports at RBs and TEs vs. Baltimore in the last three weeks: 31 for 40 (78 percent) for 305 yards and four TDs for a rating of 131.77. Do you think Joe Mixon could see 15 goals in week 11? Yes me too.

Two teams from this division receive the postseason. But not three. The Steelers are going. The Browns are not. The AFC North is the same as always.

Conner looks like a dark MVP horse

How about James Conner as an MVP candidate? He did not see enough of the ball as the Steelers stumbled through September. On average, he had an average of 25 touches during the three games they brought to Baltimore on Sunday. He had worn the insult in a season in which the Steelers had not as in previous years a deep ball. Everything he had done in Baltimore had been executed 24 times for 107 yards against a stingy defense defense. In addition, he had with seven receptions, including his first career at TD, a draw.

He came to Le Veon Bell as the first Steeler, who completed the 1,000 best Scrimmage years in his first eight games of the season. He now has a total of 10 touchdowns in the season. I understand it, he will not get past guys like Todd Gurley and Patrick Mahomes, but he should be among the roughly half a dozen players who deserve true consideration if he keeps up this pace.

Make no mistake: The Steelers carry out this attack. He is the most enduring piece that leads her out of her early sufferings. He gives them everything that Bell could, and even looked that way on some of his more patient runs on Sunday.

Run over Redskins?

For the first time this season, the skins on both sides of the scrimmage line were totally beaten. It could prove crippling.

The injuries to their offensive line are a potential relay wreck. Trent Williams should be back soon, but if Morgan Moses and Brandon Scherff retire indefinitely, it changes the overall makeup of that football team. Because without the ability to beat you in the line, this crime can not work. Alex Smith can not play from the back and this passing game will not expand quickly. The Eagles must come out of the reunion and think that there is a power move in the NFC East.

More from week 9

  • Fortunately, the Browns got the note that Duke Johnson can play a special role in the passing game. They introduced him for the first time in years, and he contributed their misdemeanors for a while. Duke in the screen game should be a must when trying to develop Baker Mayfield. During the reign of Hue Jackson he was constantly under pressure.
  • Deshaun Watson is all the way back from knee surgery. I mean everything the way back. He nudged defenders, exploded with the ball in his hands into small holes and used stuttering steps to set up defenders. It takes a good half-season to fully trust this knee again. He feels it in the best possible way. Nice to see.
  • Nathan Peterman can not start another game for the bills. It simply can not happen. It's as if he's pre-programmed to throw Pick-Sixes. The ball bounces off the receiver's hands and to the other team 2-3 times per game. It just does that. Go back to his first passes against the Chargers a year ago. So brutal.
  • You may not be able to see a better throw throughout the season than the amazing ball Mahomes Travis Kelce threw to climb to 27-15 in Cleveland. Three Browns were everywhere at the narrow end and Mahomes hit a ball out Kelce's shoulder to a spot where he and only he could either point it out for a score, or it would surely drop out of the game. Scary stuff. He is my previous MVP.
  • No shame when the rams are working. This defeat against the saints in New Orleans has always been a bad match. We'll see if Dante Fowler gives them a passport for the outside pass. If not, I think they're having trouble getting through this NFC glove in January.
  • I can not help but wonder if the lions are about to hide. A strange team to get an overview of, but I think they'll have to worry if they do not build their two matchdays with the Bears, Panthers, Bears and Rams over the next four weeks. Matt Patricia cares best about his attitude.
  • The Chargers will be the AFC wildcard team that nobody wants to face.

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