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This Sunday is going to be one of the most interesting weeks for the AFC North. The Cincinnati Bengals, who are all but out for the postseason after the season-ending injury to Joe Burrow, are set to host the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are playing their first game this season after firing offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
Among the many players who should benefit from this firing is second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett. He has thrown for 200 yards or more in five of the ten games played this season, but he hasn’t accomplished this since the Steelers beat the Los Angeles Rams 24-17 on October 22.
The Bengals’ defense has been incredibly underwhelming this season. Cincinnati allows 247.8 passing yards per game (247.8). This game is a chance for Pickett and the rest of the offense to show that Canada was the issue behind one of the worst offensive productions in the league this season.
The Kansas City Chiefs have lost two of their last three games. One of the biggest reasons is the lack of reliable pass-catchers, outside of the tight end position group.
The Chiefs have strayed away from targeting dynamic running backs like Isiah Pacheco in an attempt to elevate the receiving game. In the end, the receivers are failing and the offensive productivity is slipping as a result.
One aspect of getting the offense back into a rhythm is to get the ball to players like Pacheco in the passing game. He has caught four receptions for -1 yards in the last three games. Pacheco accounted for over 27 yards in three of the four games before the last three games on a total of 13 targets.
With the Chiefs’ offense struggling, their best game plan is to attack the horrible Raiders’ defense with dynamic pass-catchers throughout the field.
Outside linebacker Haason Reddick continues to be one of the most productive pass rushers for the Philadelphia Eagles in his second season. In ten games this season, Reddick has accounted for 15 quarterback hits, nine tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks.
He will have a big test ahead of him this Sunday as the Eagles defense takes on the high-power offense of the Buffalo Bills. Through 11 games this season, the offensive line of the Bills have allowed quarterback Josh Allen to take only 14 sacks.
Allen is the heart and soul of the Bills' offense, the Eagles' defense will attempt to suppress any passing opportunities long enough to get the pass rushers to make a play in the backfield. Reddick is the star sacker of the Eagles, this game should be his time to shine.
The Minnesota Vikings have a great chance to make the gap between them and the NFC North Division leaders in the Detroit Lions smaller with a win over the Chicago Bears on Monday Night. The Vikings were one of the most disappointing teams in the league by starting with an overall record of 1-4. They've won five consecutive games before losing to the Denver Broncos in week 11.
The player leading the charge for the Vikings is quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who was traded after the season-ending injury to Kirk Cousins. In his three games with the last two being starts, Dobbs has thrown for five touchdowns.
The Vikings are taking on a Bears' defense that is ranked 26th in the league in passing yards allowed per game (245.9) and allowed 22 passing touchdowns. This game will Dobbs the chance to make another statement and give the Vikings their best shot for the NFC North Divisional title this season.
Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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