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AFC North News and Notes: Chubb’s gruesome injury headlines Week 2

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!

Nick Chubb done for season

Browns superstar running back Nick Chubb was knocked out of Monday night’s game against the Steelers in scary fashion, reinjuring the knee he had injured during his collegiate career at Georgia. With multiple tissues affected from this injury, the road to recovery will be a long one for Chubb, who is already 27 years of age. It will be interesting to see if he will ever return to the Chubb we are accustomed to seeing, but as it pertains to this season, the Browns are not the same team without him.

The team brought back Kareem Hunt as an additional option in the backfield, but he is likely to play second fiddle to the young Jerome Ford, who is more than capable of taking on a large workload. The former Cincinnati Bearcat standout ripped off a 69-yard run on Monday night, displaying his speed and elusiveness in the open field.

Bengals HC not in panic mode after 0-2 start

With many teams resting their starters in the preseason, the first couple weeks of the season are extremely hard to predict, as players are still shaking the rust off. The Bengals began the season 0-2 last season, but they were able to right the ship and make it to the AFC Championship game. How far can they make it this season? We will have to wait and see, but head coach Zac Taylor is not pushing the panic button just yet:

“The beauty of this team is we know it’s a 17-game season.  There’s no overreaction on our end. We have to be prepared for stuff outside our locker room, which is natural. We’re in a very difficult division. We would have loved to come out 2-0; 1-1 would have been fine, too. This is exactly where we were last year, and this team is only going to get better with every game that passes. When you stumble early, you have to learn from it. So many years in the past, we’ve learned from early-season losses that have propelled us in November and December. This will be no different. I’m very confident in that.”

Diontae Johnson moved to IR

Preceding Monday’s win over the Browns, the Steelers placed both Diontae Johnson and Anthony McFarland, Jr. on the Reserve/Injured List. Barring a major setback, Johnson should make a mid-season return, but this does allow George Pickens to cement his status as the WR1 in this offense. Pickens saw double-digit targets Monday night, but the vast majority were inaccurately thrown balls. If the offensive line can do a better job of giving Pickett a clean pocket, George Pickens may be the biggest beneficiary.

Ravens roll to 2-0

Despite having a less-than-stellar roster on paper, the Ravens are atop the division two weeks into the season. Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen have played wonderfully thus far, and the defensive unit as a whole seems to be on the same page. While Lamar Jackson has not looked great in Todd Monken’s offense, his new playmakers (specifically Zay Flowers) have made it more difficult for opposing defenses on the back end. Keep an eye on the Ravens running game, as they did lose J.K. Dobbins for the season.

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