The Baltimore Ravens have started the 2020 season off in solid fashion, and the team is in contention for yet another AFC North title as the midseason mark draws ever closer.
How could the battle for the division crown play out? So far, it’s been a bit too early to proclaim any favorites, but it’s clear the Ravens are still high on the list for many folks even as they have been up and down at times and not exactly meeting their own high expectations.
On NFL Network, former coach Steve Mariucci was asked who he saw being king of the AFC North, and his answer still resides in Charm City in the form of the Ravens.
— NFL GameDay (@NFLGameDay) October 18, 2020
“I’m going to take the Ravens, they got beat down by the Chiefs. But that’s not in this king of the north conversation. The Ravens already beat down the Browns opening game 38-6. This team was 14-2 last year. I think they got better in some areas. You signed a Calais Campbell, come on. You draft Patrick Queen, he’s a heck of a linebacker and J.K. Dobbins from Ohio State. This Ravens team, when this passing game gets on track and it will get better as the season goes on, it’s a very dangerous team. I’m saying the Ravens.”
Mariucci added that he didn’t buy into the Pittsburgh Steelers a favorites because he felt as if their schedule to start the 2020 season has been on the weaker side of things in the league.
“The reason I didn’t take the Steelers is because they’re undefeated but they haven’t really beat anybody. Their opponents only have 3 wins this season. I don’t want to say that’s a soft schedule, but that’s a soft schedule.”
The Steelers’ schedule strength got a bit better considering the Cleveland Browns had 4 wins coming into the Week 6 game, so the Steelers now have a victory against them to their credit to boost the resume. Still, according to Mariucci, the Ravens have the better overall team and could be expected to be the division champions when all is said and done as a result.
The sides will be prepared to do battle during Week 8 when the Ravens come off the bye, and it will be interesting to see if Mariucci’s words can be proven true regarding Baltimore’s offense.
2020 AFC North Standings
So far, the Ravens and Steelers have each been the class of the division, with Baltimore sitting pretty at 5-1 and the Steelers an impressive 5-0 on the season. The Browns are in the No. 3 spot by virtue of their 4-2 record, and the Cincinnati Bengals, while more competitive this season, bring up the rear at 1-4-1. Obviously, this looks like an easy three horse race between the Steelers, Ravens and Browns. It’s potentially a two horse race with the Browns having plenty of work to do to account for a pair of losses to each of the teams ahead of them.
Ravens Battles With Steelers Key
In terms of the Steelers, the Ravens have not yet renewed their hard-hitting rivalry in 2020 with the Pittsburghers and this game figures to be very significant in playing a role in who wins the NFC North. Baltimore has come out ahead in close battles the last few years but the Steelers are looking very much improved this season. If the Ravens want to prove they’re still the class of the division, they will want to win this game in a big way in order to make a statement coming out of the bye week.
Plenty will be settled starting in Week 8, but for now, many analysts think the Ravens still have the upper hand. Mariucci can be counted as one person who feels that way.
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