Maybe not as wacky as Week 6, but still a pretty weird week of football.
Ravens Flying High
Something that the 2023 NFL season has taught us thus far, is that the team that has been getting praised all week for how good they are, gets humbled. A few examples of this have been, the Dallas Cowboys after Week 2, the Miami Dolphins after scoring 70 points in Week 3 and the San Francisco 49ers after Week 5. After Week 6, everyone, including myself, was talking about how great the Detroit Lions are. Some of the narratives included if they were genuine Super Bowl contenders, and if they could get the number one seed do the ease of their remaining schedule.
The Baltimore Ravens had other ideas in their 38-6 win against the Lions on Sunday. The Ravens made it pretty clear early on that they business. They jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, and went into halftime up 28-0. The Ravens showed me that as of now, they are the second best team in the AFC, after the Kansas City Chiefs. Their defense has been really good this season, but up until the Lions game, they didn’t play any offense that is looked at as a tremendous offense. Against the Lions however, their defense proved they could shutdown one of the best offenses in the league. According to Next Gen Stats, they recorded five sacks and eight quarterback hits. They made Jared Goff, who has been playing really good football for a while now, look ordinary.
The thing that makes the Ravens perhaps the most dangerous since they have been in the Lamar Jackson era, is Jackson’s play. Against the Lions, Jackson completed 21 of 27 passes, threw for 357 yards and had three touchdown passes. While he may not be having those crazy highlight runs he was having his first few seasons, this version of him is so much more dangerous because of his improvement as a passer. A play against the Lions that encapsulates his improvement for me, was his touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor. The old Jackson would have looked to run when things got hectic in the pocket, instead he escaped the packet with the intent to pass it like he did.
Steelers Steal Another Victory
I’m going to stay in the AFC North and give some love to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers beat the Los Angeles Rams 24-17. In typical Steelers fashion, they had a terrible first half on the offensive side of the ball, but turned it around in the second half. Things got going for them as it often does, thanks to T.J. Watt. The Rams got the ball to start the second half with a 9-3 lead and some momentum after they got a touchdown to end the first half. On their first play of the drive, Watt picked off Matthew Stafford and took it back to the house. The Steelers went on to outscore the Rams 14-0 in the fourth quarter and get on the victory. My feelings on the Steelers right now is that they are 4-2 and I have no idea how. They’ve never had a losing record under Mike Tomlin, and I’ll have to see before believing it will ever happen. They’ve got a really good defense that keeps them in games, and they have some players on offense that can make special plays when they need it.
I’m Over The NFC South
Someone is going to win this division and host a home playoff game. Going into the year, I thought it would be the New Orleans Saints. They have the most talent, and the best quarterback. Their schedule isn’t too bad either. The problem is, their quarterback that they thought could help them contend is arguably the biggest reason they have struggled on offense so far.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are very similar to the Saints. They have very talented players on both sides of the ball, but with Baker Mayfield as their quarterback and Todd Bowles as their head coach, they have a limited ceiling. The Atlanta Falcons are very similar to both the Saints and the Bucs. They have amazing talent on offense that is being wasted with Desmond Ridder as their quarterback. I’m not sure how I feel about head coach Arthur Smith. I don’t think he’s terrible, but I don’t think he’s good either. To sum up this division, some of the teams have talented rosters, but have quarterbacks and head coaches that aren’t good enough.
Lastly, the Carolina Panthers are………. the Panthers.
Write to Mohamed Warsame at Mohamed.firstname.lastname@example.org