Ravens lead the AFC North again after shocking Bengals loss

Ravens, Lamar Jackson (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ravens, Lamar Jackson (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The New York Jets were the underdog champions in their unlikely victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8, but the Baltimore Ravens also won that day.

After the Bengals’ loss, the Ravens moved back to their rightful place at the top of the AFC North.

They lead the division with a 5-2 record while the Bengals trail behind at 5-3.

Cincinnati’s struggles give the Ravens the perfect chance to power full-speed ahead and gain acres of ground in the division race after a restful bye week.

Baltimore will face the Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, and Chicago Bears in their next three matchups, which (fingers crossed) should all be easy wins.

The Bengals’ loss to the Jets should bring unbridled joy to Ravens fans, but it also serves as a cautionary tale to overly complacent teams.

The Ravens stand to profit from the Cincinnati Bengals’ Week 8 loss

The Ravens know they’ve still got work to do, especially in the run game, though the Ravens have reason to be optimistic with the expected return of Sammy Watkins to the wide receiver unit.

The veteran wideout leads the team with 16.2 yards per reception and has 18 catches for 292 yards. In his absence, Marquise Brown has stepped up with season totals of 566 yards and six touchdowns, targeted a team-high 57 times.

And Rashod Bateman, by virtue of being a rookie, still has plenty upside and has figured as a dependable pass-catching target mostly working the slot.

With each receiver’s different skillset and varying role to play in the offense, Lamar Jackson will have the most talented and versatile wide receiving corps of his career. How well the group meshes together has yet to be seen, but at least having the options and the depth is nice.

Jackson, ever the picture of humility, won’t take anything for granted in the following weeks and could be due for some more record-breaking games this season.

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All in all, the Ravens’ future in 2021 shines bright, and with the Bengals’ Week 8 loss, it shines even brighter.