To open 2021, the AFC North has been very competitive. There are three different teams that have opened 3-1, proving that there is a lot of talent here. And the biggest surprise might be that Pittsburgh is only 1-3 after beginning 11-0 a season ago.
It is hard to pinpoint a favorite right now, as there are major flaws with all three teams. But, they have generally looked good and it has been fun to watch.
Bengals Off to Surprising 3-1 Start
Joe Burrow getting healthy was always the biggest question for this team. He brings a lot to the table and when his line blocks for him, he does a tremendous job of slinging the ball all over the field. He was fully healed for opening day, and has looked incredible to open up this season. It could not be better if they wanted.
Joe Mixon is set to miss some games, as it usually goes. He adds a lot of value and usually takes most of the RB touches. So now, Chris Evans and Samaje Perine will take over. Perine’s brother is on the Jets, and he’s been here long enough that he is familiar with the offense.
Ja’Marr Chase is tearing it up as WR1, catching all of the deep balls. Nobody expected them to be 3-1 outside of the franchise’s innards. This looks great. They will be far from a top-5 pick this time around.
Browns Building Off Strong Season
Things have been going well for the Browns, considering some of the holes in the offense. Baker Mayfield has been missing a lot of open guys, including a horrendous miss to Odell Beckham Jr. on what would have been a game-ending touchdown. They held on for the W, but it was a lot closer than it should have been.
Myles Garrett has been the best sack artist in the game, while their cornerbacks have been able to get things done. Nick Chubb has also shown that he is one of the best backs in the NFL. As long as he and Kareem Hunt stay healthy, the run game simply cannot be stopped.
The hidden advantage is that they are coached by Kevin Stefanski, who has done some great work here.
Ravens Looking to Stay Hot
With wins over the Chiefs and Broncos, Baltimore has found two signature victories in the early-going. They defeated the Lions thanks to Justin Tucker making the longest kick in NFL history at 66 yards. The offense has been very good once again, despite various injuries.
All of their current running backs were signed within the last week before the regular season. They have been without first-round WR Rashod Bateman. They are also down a number of key guys on defense. And yet, here they are at 3-1.
If they can rush for 100 or more yards in their game with Indianapolis, it would mark a record, having done it 44 times in a row. Lamar Jackson is in his bag right now, continuing to run the ball effectively.
At the end of the day, they have the best offense among the three 3-1 squads.
Shoutout to the AFC North. They have three real AFC contenders. But, Pittsburgh… needs a new QB.