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AFC North News and Notes: A tighter division after Week 3

Each week during the NFL season, I will be running through the top storylines from within the AFC North and giving my brief opinion on each matter that is discussed. Once the season gets into full swing, we oftentimes overlook many prevalent stories around the league, as we narrow our focus solely on our beloved Steelers. Hopefully this weekly piece will provide insight on the important topics in the AFC North and educate each reader on what to expect for each AFC North team moving forward.

With much to discuss and minimal time to discuss it, let’s dive right in!

Ravens’ heartbreaking loss tightens up the division

Amongst many surprising outcomes on Sunday, one of the most interesting finishes was the Ravens vs. Colts matchup, as Matt Gay kicked a field goal for Indy in overtime to upset the undefeated Ravens. The Colts were without starting quarterback Anthony Richardson, and Gardner Minshew did not necessarily play that well, but miscues and poor execution by Baltimore kept Indianapolis afloat. The Todd Monken experiment has not been awe-inspiring three weeks in, but they are still 2-1, and they have plenty of time to work out the kinks on the offensive side of the ball.

Ravens sign former Patriots linebacker

Veteran linebacker Kyle Van Noy appears to be heading to Baltimore, as Josina Anderson is reporting that he signing there and being placed on the practice squad.

With starters Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen already in place, it is unlikely Van Noy sees much playing time unless an injury occurs. However, we have seen before how crucial it is to have veteran depth at key positions, as it can be a major benefit come postseason time.

Daxton Hill, Ja’Marr Chase shine in Cincy’s close win

Former Michigan safety Daxton Hill was not given much attention his rookie season, but he has quietly had a phenomenal first three weeks of the season. Displaying outstanding instincts in coverage, run defense, and blitzing, Hill was a key part of Cincinnati’s win Monday night, as he recorded 8 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 sack.

On the offensive side of the ball, it was the Ja’Marr Chase show. After two slow weeks to begin the season, Bengals fans and fantasy managers alike were concerned about how long it would take to see a Chase breakout. Despite Joe Burrow not being one hundred percent healthy, Chase made the most of his looks, catching 12 passes for 141 yards. As Joe Burrow continues to get closer to one hundred percent, this should become a normality.

Myles Garrett, TJ Watt go off in big victories

TJ Watt was an absolute wrecking ball, per usual, in the Steelers’ win against the Raiders. Vegas simply had no answer for him, as he recorded 2 sacks, 3 QB hits, and many more hurries. With no clear favorite in the early MVP conversation, it is time for fans to include TJ Watt in that discussion. Not only are teams unable to stop him, but they are failing to even minimize his impact in any way, no matter how they try to block him. Garrett had a fantastic game of his own, recording 3.5 sacks and 5 QB hits in the Browns’ 27-3 victory over the Titans. As long as these two players remain healthy, the Steelers and Browns will be two of the top defensive units in the league, as their disruption will allow for the secondary to create turnovers.

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