The Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the floundering Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7, putting their record at 4-3. It is a small miracle the the team has fared so well in the absence of so many key players, but it was still frustrating to witness a Black and Gold defeat at the hands of a team that was 1-5 going into Week 7.
The other AFC North teams also had rough weeks, with the exception of the Cincinnati Bengals who enjoyed a bye week ahead of their Week 8 match up against the Steelers.
Cleveland Browns lose to the St. Louis Rams 6-24
The Browns fell to 2-5 after losing to the St. Louis Rams by a wide margin. The Rams' investment in running back Todd Gurley in the first round of the 2015 draft is paying huge dividends despite concerns about the athlete's recovery from a torn ACL. Gurley rushed for 128 yards and had two touchdowns en route to his team's victory over the hapless Browns, who only managed two field goals during the game.
The St. Louis defense came out in full force, although the Browns offense is inconsistent and can be very easy to stop. The Rams defensive unit had four sacks and four fumble recoveries.
The Steelers play the Browns for the first time on November 15 and then again on January 3, the final game of the regular season. During the battle with the Rams, quarterback Josh McCown injured his shoulder, putting Johnny Manziel in the spotlight. The embattled Manziel is meeting with the NFL about a domestic dispute on October 12. The quarterback situation in Cleveland is very much up in the air.
Baltimore Ravens lose to the Arizona Cardinals 18-26
To date, the only win the Ravens have is against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their Week 7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals seals the team's fate. With six losses, the team's poor performance so far this season is not a fluke. Unlike the Kansas City Chiefs, the Ravens are not a team that is "almost good." They are, simply put, very, very bad. Quarterback Joe Flacco has very few offensive weapons, and new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman is whipping up uninspired and ineffective game plans that do little to compensate for the lack of talent on the offensive side of the ball. The Ravens defense is equally inadequate, giving up an average of 26.9 points per game, a statistic that is 26th in the NFL.
The Ravens face the Chargers and Jaguars in the next two weeks and then take on the Rams and Browns. The Ravens have a horrible pass defenseGiven their struggles on the field, even the floundering Jaguars could be a tough opponent for Baltimore. The Steelers don't meet up with the Ravens again until the penultimate week on December 27. By then, many of the Steelers challenges should be sorted out, while the Ravens have little hope of rebounding.