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Everyone in AFC North has issues, giving Ravens opportunity to win it

Everyone in AFC North has issues, giving Ravens opportunity to win it

Nobody looks good enough to run away with the AFC North, which gives the Ravens a legitimate chance to make the playoffs.

Halfway through the season, the AFC North is the only division without a team above .500. The Ravens (4-4), Steelers (4-4), and Bengals (3-4-1) could very well duke things out until Week 17, with the division winner going to the playoffs, and everyone else in the division going home.

The AFC North is not the AFC West, a division that could send three teams to the playoffs – the Raiders (7-2), the Chiefs (6-2), and the Broncos (6-3). The AFC North is a collection of teams still searching for an identity. And that’s before you even mention the hapless Browns (0-9), the NFL’s only winless team.

RELATED: WHAT WE LEARNED FROM RAVENS' WIN OVER STEELERS

Until their 21-14 victory over the Steelers on Sunday, the Ravens had not won a game since Sept. 25. Yet, the Ravens woke up Monday leading the division.

The Steelers have lost three straight, and while they clearly have the talent to make a late-season run, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell, and wide receiver Antonio Brown all sounded frustrated after losing to the Ravens. The Steelers were shutout for three quarters, and Brown (seven catches, 85 yards, one TD) will continue to see double-team attention until the Steelers make opponents pay.

“It’s been about eight weeks so far, and that’s what we’ve been seeing – double-coverage,” said Brown. Other guys got to step up. It just shows that people got respect for me, but we have to find a way to win no matter what they do.”

The Bengals (3-4-1) had a bye Sunday, but they don’t look as potent offensively this season after losing wide receivers Marvin Jones (Lions) and Mohamed Sanu (Falcons) in free agency, and losing former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who left to become the Browns head coach.

Following Sunday’s game, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs was relieved to end a four-game losing streak, but challenged his teammates to raise their level of play in the second half of the season.

“We’ll take the win, but we ain’t satisfied,” Suggs said. “Veteran teams, good teams, they don’t take a step back.”

The Ravens have a short week, hosting the Browns on Thursday night. But after that, the Ravens’ schedule gets much tougher, including road games against the Patriots (7-1), Cowboys (7-1), Steelers, and Bengals.

However, it may not take more than nine wins to capture the AFC North. Halfway through the season, despite all their offensive struggles, the Ravens clearly have hope.

  RELATED: STEVE SMITH RIPS MIKE MITCHELL FOLLOWING WIN

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Former Raven Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl-bound

Former Raven Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl-bound

Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Tennessee Titans 35-24 Sunday to advance to Super Bowl LIV in Miami. 

Suggs, who spent 16 seasons with the Ravens, will look to cement his Hall of Fame candidacy with a victory in his second Super Bowl appearance (Won SB XLVII) this time as a member of the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Suggs departed from Baltimore before the 2019 season, signing a one-year deal with his hometown Arizona Cardinals before being waived mid-season. 

The Ravens were rumored to be interested in a reunion with their all-time leader in sacks but did not put in a claim, being last in waiver priority, and Suggs was claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs.



While the Ravens' 2019 season ended prematurely at the hands of the Titans, fans in Baltimore can take solace knowing that Suggs and the Chiefs helped bring the Titans' magical season to an end.

Suggs' accolades (2011 AP Def. Player of the Year, 2003 AP Def. Rookie of the Year, 7x Pro-Bowl, 1x All-Pro) will stand the test of time, but adding a second Super Bowl ring to his resume would make his Hall of Fame candidacy that much greater. 

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The Ravens appear to have their entire coaching staff returning for the 2020 season

The Ravens appear to have their entire coaching staff returning for the 2020 season

While the Ravens roster will likely remain mostly together for the 2020 regular season, it appears the coaching staff will stay entirely intact, too. 

After both coordinators, Greg Roman and Don “Wink” Martindale, had interviews with the Browns and Giants, respectively, those jobs were filled by Kevin Stefanski and Joe Judge. 

And more recently, quarterbacks coach James Urban and tight ends coach Bobby Engram were requested for interviews by the Eagles. Harbaugh said both Engram and Urban pulled out of the running and weren’t interested.

“It looks like our staff is going to stay together,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I can tell you that. I’m not saying anything couldn’t happen; there are always things brewing for a certain period of time.”

The Ravens have every offensive starter from the divisional playoff game under contract for next season, and now appear to have the offensive coordinator and all of the position coaches back on-board for another run too. The Ravens set a franchise record with 531 points, led by Lamar Jackson.

Things are still fluid, as a job opportunity for anyone on the staff can pop up out of the blue. But for now, the Ravens look like they’ll run the entire operation back for another go at a Super Bowl.

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