AFC North News and Notes: Watt Domination Headlines Week 5
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!
Chase Explodes in Crucial Win for Bengals
If you were a Ja’Marr Chase owner in fantasy football, you probably entered Week 5 with minimal enthusiasm regarding Ja’Marr Chase. The past couple weeks were an improvement from the very beginning of the season, but we still had not seen the Ja’Marr Chase of old before Sunday. However, he put any concerns to silence, catching 15 of 19 passes thrown in his direction for 192 yards and 3 touchdowns. This was a key win for the Bengals, who entered the game 1-3 and struggling mightily on offense. Joe Burrow is still not playing to the level we are accustomed to seeing from him, but Sunday was a step in the right direction for the Bengals, who are still very much in the race for the AFC North division crown.
Watson’s availability in question vs. 49ers
Deshaun Watson is still dealing with a rotator cuff contusion that kept him out of Week 4’s matchup before the bye, and his status for Week 6’s matchup against the 49ers is still in the air. Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw three interceptions in place of Watson two weeks ago, and the task is not going to be any easier against San Francisco, who is coming off a blowout performance against the Dallas Cowboys. If the Browns want a chance to pull off the upset, they need Watson to be at full strength. Unfortunately for them, it appears highly unlikely he will be.
T.J. Watt’s injury will not cause him to miss time
According to Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport, T.J. Watt suffered a badly dislocated finger and tore multiple ligaments against the Ravens on Sunday. However, it is a surprise to none that Watt will play through the injury as soon as the Steelers come back from their Week 6 bye. Watt is perhaps the favorite in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation, and one could easily make an argument for him to be an MVP candidate. He is the best defensive player in the NFL right now, and nobody else (except Micah Parsons, perhaps) is particularly close.
On the bright side of the injury bulletin, Diontae Johnson is expected to make his return following the bye, giving the Steelers another formidable presence at receiver. It will be interesting to see if Matt Canada finally shifts the focus to George Pickens as the WR1. If he sticks with the same philosophy of orchestrating a passing game around Diontae Johnson, this offense is going to continue in its struggles.
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