It takes one major injury to shift the power in any division in the NFL. Could the Joe Burrow injury suffered at the beginning of training camp shift the power in the AFC North? Could the Baltimore Ravens be a sleeper to win the division. What about the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns?
In what is shaping up as one of the more competitive divisions in the NFL, the AFC North is loaded with talent and high expectations. But the team with the top quarterback, is the team now with the biggest question: Can the Cincinnati Bengals hold strong until Burrow returns?
AFC North Injury News: Joe Burrow expected to miss “several weeks”
The biggest fear for any NFL team is their franchise quarterback going down before the season even begins.
For Who Dey Nation, that worst fear took place this past Thursday when Joe Burrow sustained a calf injury during practice and had to be carted off the field. Due to the injury, the Bengals gunslinger is expected to miss “several weeks” according to head coach Zac Taylor. While that time flame doesn’t offer a specific expected return, at least it’s not an injury that will keep him out the entire season.
Whether its just through the rest of training camp and the preseason or a few weeks into the 2023 NFL season, the Bengals will need to get backup QB’s Trevor Siemian and Jake Browning prepared and ready to run the offense in case Burrow isn’t ready to go, especially with the Week 1 matchup being an AFC North battle with the Browns.
Here’s hoping for the best for Burrow and the Bengals.
AFC North Banter: Odell Beckham Jr entering camp with “No Limitations”
Watch out for the Baltimore Ravens.
With Lamar Jackson locked up long-term, the Ravens will always be a factor in the AFC North. But this season, they can really make some noise if Odell Beckham Jr turns back the clock and has an OBJ-type season in 2023.
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That will be a lot to ask for a 30-year-old wide receiver who missed an entire year, but after signing a one-year, $15 million contract with the Ravens, Beckham Jr is ready to go and has “no limitations” on what he can do during practice.
"“It seems to be that Odell has a good plan, and I see him working himself on a schedule to b e ready to start the season,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said, via ESPN. “He’s definitely not where he’s going to be, but you could see the step from minicamp, so that was a good step in the right direction.”"
With the veteran receiver in the mix, the Ravens’ offense will also feature first-round pick Zay Flowers, tight ends Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely, running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards and of course Jackson who will have something to prove in 2023.
AFC North hype: Steelers QB Kenny Pickett has lofty goals
In a division that features Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson, the question in the AFC North is whether the Pittsburgh Steelers have their own star quarterback on the rise in second-year man Kenny Pickett.
After a strong rookie season with the Steelers, Pickett is entering camp with a ton of confidence and one goal that will have Steelers fans really waving those terrible towels.
"“I’m just happy doing this,” Pickett said of the work he put in during his first NFL offseason. “I genuinely like doing it. I like being here. In order to be great you have to have a love for the game. I want to be one of the best. I know what I have to do and there’s a lot of things that we need to do as a team to get us to our goals. I feel like it all starts with me and my play. I’ve got to be the guy that takes us there. I’m ready to take it on.”"
Pickett is coming off a rookie season in which his through for 2404 yards with 7 touchdowns with a 63.0 percent completion rate. Definitely room for growth and improvement, but it is the intangibles that make the second-year quarterback a player to watch in 2023.
With some solid playmakers around him in George Pickens, Allen Robinson and running back Najee Harris, Pickett will be put in position to success, especially with a solid defense led by TJ Watt. Will the Steelers have enough to compete in the loaded AFC North?
Somehow Mike Tomlin coached teams always end up in the mix by the end of the season.