2. TE Mark Andrews, 35 receptions, 566 yards, 124 YAC, 6 TDs
3. WR Miles Boykin, 34 receptions, 549 yards, 5 TDs
Defensive Stat Leaders
1. CB William Jackson III; 44 Tackles
2. CB Marlon Humphrey; 36 Tackles
1. OLB Von Miller; 11.5 Sacks
2. OLB Monty Rice; 3.5 Sacks
1. FS Jevon Holland; 16 Interceptions
2. CB Marlon Humphrey; 10 Interceptions
1. FS Jevon Holland; 1 Forced Fumble
2. MLB Patrick Queen; 1 Forced Fumble
Passing offense rank: 24th (2670 yards)
Rushing offense rank: 18th (1523 yards)
Passing defense rank: 27th (3353 yards allowed)
Rushing defense rank: 10th (1406 yards allowed)
Points scored per game: 5th (36 PPG)
Points allowed per game: 2nd (18 PPG allowed)
Coming into the season as back-to-back AFC North champions, the Ravens started the season on the hunt to break their streak of one-and-done in the playoffs. Baltimore started the year off with a splash, upsetting the reigning Super Champion Buffalo Bills in week one. They proceeded to dominate most of their competition on the backs of a defense that creates more chaos than anyone. Dropping a few disappointing losses against the Titans and Chargers, the Ravens narrowly lost to rival New England Patriots by one point in the midseason. Their offense and defense have both struggled in terms of yardage, but this defense is one of the hardest to score on in the league. This is a classic “chicken or the egg” situation: is the Ravens’ offense struggling, or have they just not had to put up big numbers due to a dominant defense? With one marquee matchup left on the season, the Ravens are looking to get ready for the postseason and make some noise.
Playoff outlook: Sitting at 10-3, the Ravens have clinched their third straight division title and a playoff berth. With two opponents remaining below .500 and the undefeated Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this team has some opportunities to slip up and drop a game or two if they don’t remain focused. Baltimore has locked in a top-four seed, so the last few weeks will only determine their round one matchup. They benched starters around this point last season, and we saw them come out rusty in the playoffs. Will they do the same again this year, or will they keep their foot on the gas?
2. SS Ronnie Harrison/ CB Denzel Ward; 4 interceptions
1. MLB Kwon Alexander; 2 Forced fumbles
2. DE Myles Garrett; 2 Forced fumbles
Passing offense rank: 3rd (3685 yards)
Rushing offense rank: 8th (1791 yards)
Passing defense rank: 28th (3395 yards allowed)
Rushing defense rank: 30th (1994 yards allowed)
Points scored per game: 17th (28 PPG)
Points allowed per game: 32nd (45 PPG allowed)
Coming off of a disappointing season that saw tanking allegations thrown at them, the Cleveland Browns started the year on a mission to prove that they can compete. Starting out 4-1, this season looked promising. Since that point, they have yet to win a game. This team seems more interested in throwing bombs and getting sacks than winning games, and it has become apparent in their 8 game losing streak. Surprisingly enough, at 4-9 the Browns are still in the playoff picture in the weak AFC (shoutout to Burn). This offense puts up some crazy numbers, but the defense gives up even crazier numbers. The Browns have had games where they gave up 56, 69, 77, and 55 points, with a few more games allowing over 40 points. It almost seems like the goal is to put up numbers on offense, and defense is in the way of that. Allowing points on defense gives the Browns an opportunity to rack up stats playing catch up. Baker Mayfield is potentially on his way out of Cleveland, so could we see the Browns blow things up this off-season and rebuild?
With three games left, the Browns have two divisional games left and play the Saints as well. The Browns have yet to beat the Ravens this cycle, but they will definitely give them their best shot in the near future. The Saints are fighting for their playoff lives in the NFC and the Browns could win content points with an upset. In their week 17 matchup against the Bengals, who knows what will happen. There will be no content points on the line– just pride and draft position. It will be interesting to see if the Browns turn things around down the stretch, or if they fold and finish the season on an 11 game losing streak. This team has had bright moments and has shown that they can hang with anyone, but haven’t been able to find any consistency.
Just before the season started, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced to the league that they have looked over their schedule multiple times and couldn’t see themselves doing worse than 14-2. They also declared that they would sweep the division. This team has struggled to find consistency, losing a game where they gave up 77 points and winning one where they scored 77 the very next week. Pittsburgh has been all over the place. Some weeks their offense looks dominant and you wonder if their defense is coming into their own after trading away Minkah Fitzpatrick and TJ Watt. Likely moving on from Minshew this off-season, this is another team that could press the reset button.
The Steelers Head Coach publicly stated that they were going to win out and finish 7-9, and with their schedule I could actually see them accomplishing that. However, this record won’t be good enough to make the playoffs unless we see multiple teams have historic meltdowns. At this point, the Steelers need to start testing their options for next year. The Falcons will be fighting for a playoff spot and will give them a strong fight. The Bengals have the Steelers’ number and have already beaten them once. Even though content points aren’t on the line, this game will be about pride. The Panthers’ week 17 game could determine if they make the playoffs or not, so we will see the best they have to offer. The Steelers aren’t technically eliminated yet, but the road is extremely difficult.
Betting on themselves early, the Bengals set their sights high this season, with eyes set on the playoffs. Twelve games later, they’re sitting at 2-10 with only one opportunity left to win content points. With two divisional games left, we are going to see this team play for pride. This team shows flashes, but is ultimately held back by an offense that can get predictable at times and is even further hindered by a defense that hemorrhages yards. They’ve fared well against the past, bit are the second worst rushing defense. This is likely due to the personnel packages they use. They tend to use formations with lots of defensive backs on the field, which will stop the pass but get pushed around on the ground. If this team can continue to build a roster that fits their playstyle, they can potentially get on the right track next season.
Their playoff hopes are nonexistent at this point, but they have a chance to prove themselves against the reigning champions, the Buffalo Bills. Playing heated rivals in Pittsburgh and Cleveland will also give them a chance to showcase their abilities to the league.