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AFC North News and Notes: Deshaun Watson done for season

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!

Deshaun Watson to have surgery, miss remainder of season

Just as the Browns began hitting their stride, their starting quarterback suffered a season-ending injury that will likely prevent them from being true contenders in the playoffs. Cleveland is coming off a miraculous comeback against the division rival Ravens, and they are in the thick of the competition for the AFC North crown. With Deshaun Watson now set to undergo shoulder surgery and miss the remainder of the season, it puts into question the Browns’ plans for 2023 and beyond. P.J. Walker has had impressive moments, but can he do enough to keep the Browns afloat? Deshaun Watson’s contract would be tough to move, but he was not the sharpest this season, even when healthy. Does this injury put the Browns in the market for a quarterback this offseason? This will be quite the topic of interest moving forward.

Ravens blow lead, big TNF matchup awaits

Lamar Jackson is not the most clutch passer in the NFL, and several missed opportunities by Jackson led to the Ravens giving up a large lead and, ultimately, losing to the Browns 33-31. The difficult realization for the Ravens is that they have an incredibly quick turnaround this week, facing off against the Bengals on Thursday Night Football. The Bengals are coming off a disappointing loss to the Texans, but the offense as a whole has been much better over the past month. Baltimore will need a strong performance on the ground from Gus Edwards and Keaton Mitchell if they want to come away with a win.

Steelers find success on the ground in tight win

The Steelers cannot, and will not, find a way to win a game in pretty fashion in 2023. However, they are somehow 6-3 despite significant turmoil on the offensive side of the football. Albeit against a poor run defense, the Steelers ran for over 200 yards on Sunday in their win against the Packers. Najee Harris looks like his old self, and Jaylen Warren continues to impress. The defense has not been perfect, but they came away with key turnovers at key times against the Packers, covering up many of the issues in the middle of the field. The loss of Kwon Alexander is a big one for this defense, but not all injury news is negative. Tight end Pat Freiermuth has returned to practice and will likely be returning to the football field within the next week or two.

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