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AFC North Preview, Week 10: Fighting to stay alive

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By: Dustin Cox

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Two teams looking to keep their hopes alive

Only two teams from the AFC North will play in Week 10 for the second weekend in a row. The Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals will both be absent on bye weeks while the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers fight to keep their seasons alive.

Cleveland Browns (3-5)

The Browns return from their bye week to face the Miami Dolphins on the road as 3.5-point underdogs. Cleveland remains in the mix for the playoffs in the AFC, especially since quarterback Deshaun Watson will return from an 11-game suspension soon. With two divisional wins under their belt already, the Browns could also look to challenge for the top spot in the AFC North if they can get hot to finish the season.

Cleveland’s defense faces perhaps their toughest test of the 2022 season this Sunday against Dolphins, led by red-hot quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and his pair of game-changing wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. The Browns must avoid getting into a high-octane shootout. Controlling time of possession with long drives and featuring running back Nick Chubb is the optimal strategy for them to pull off the upset this week.

Tight end David Njoku and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah have both been ruled out for Sunday’s game for Cleveland.

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6)

Currently sitting at 2-6, the Steelers’ hopes for this season are dwindling. Pittsburgh will host the New Orleans Saints as 1.5-point home underdogs this week. Head Coach Mike Tomlin is in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in his tenure with the organization.

The Steelers received a much-needed boost this week as it was revealed that All-Pro outside linebacker T.J. Watt would be returning to the field this Sunday. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year has been absent since suffering a pectoral tear in Week 1. With only 15 sacks on the season — sixth fewest in the NFL — Pittsburgh’s defense could look like a different unit with their best player back on the field for the second half of the season.

The Steelers are still hurting at the cornerback position, as both Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring) and William Jackson III (back) are expected to miss this week. Jackson has yet to make his debut with the team after Pittsburgh traded for the veteran cornerback from the Washington Commanders ahead of the NFL trade deadline earlier this month. Offensive lineman Kevin Dotson suffered an injury in practice this week and is listed as questionable for Sunday.

Originally posted on Baltimore Beatdown – All Posts

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