Post NFL Season Review of AFC North, 2022-23

Post NFL Season Review of AFC North, 2022-23
Fri 17th February 2023

After a thrilling season, the NFL is officially over for another year. So, the team at SportsTips thought it would be a good idea to go through every team in the AFC North, and have a look at the year that was!

Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens opened the 2022 campaign with eight wins in their first 12 games. However, injuries derailed head coach John Harbaugh’s squad for the second consecutive season. The Ravens lost three of their final four regular-season games to finish second in the division with a 10-7 card and a 24-17 heartbreaker to the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round.

Former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson missed the season’s final six games, including the playoffs, with a knee injury. The 26-year-old quarterback is unsigned for the 2023 season, and the Ravens are expected to place the franchise tag on the signal-caller if no long-term deal is reached during the offseason.  

Baltimore boasted the league’s second-ranked rushing offense with 160 yards per game despite Jackson, J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards missing a combined 23 regular season contests. Jackson posted a team-high 764 rushing yards, and tight end Mark Andrews led the squad with 73 receptions. Wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay both sustained season-ending injuries.

The Ravens stout run defense finished the season ranked third. Linebacker Patrick Queen led the team with 117 tackles, while safety Chuck Clark and linebacker Roquan Smith tallied 101 and 86 tackles, respectively. Smith signed a five-year, $100 million extension that made him the NFL’s highest-paid off-ball linebacker. Justin Houston notched a team-high 9.5 sacks, and Marcus Williams led the secondary with four interceptions. 

Cincinnati Bengals

The defending AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals started the 2022 season with a pair of losses and were a dismal 4-4 after eight weeks of action. But fourth-year head coach Zac Taylor’s squad reeled off eight straight victories to finish with a 12-4 mark and earn back-to-back AFC North titles for the first time in franchise history. The Bengals knocked off the Baltimore Ravens and the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs before falling 23-20 to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.

The dynamic duo of Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards for the second season. Chase caught 87 balls for 1,046 yards and nine touchdowns in just 12 games, while Higgins finished with 74 catches for 1,029 yards and seven scores. Pro Bowl quarterback Joe Burrow finished second in the NFL with a franchise record 35 touchdown passes.

Cincinnati’s high-octane offense was a top-10 unit in passing yards, total yards, points scored, and time of possession. Running back Joe Mixon led the team with 814 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, while Samaje Perine ran for 394 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The former Oklahoma standout also caught 38 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns.

Linebacker Logan Smith was the leading tackler for a defense that finished seventh against opposing rushing attacks. The former third-round pick tallied 123 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and one interception. Trey Hendrickson paced the Bengals with eight sacks, and Sam Hubbard added 6.5 quarterback takedowns. Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates led the team with four interceptions apiece.

Cleveland Browns

The season started on a positive note for the Cleveland Browns, with two victories in their first three games. But without franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was suspended for the first 11 games, the Browns lost nine of their final 14 games to finish in the basement of the division with a 7-10 record.

Watson returned to the field after a 700-day absence in Week 12 and posted a 3-3 mark in six games. The dual-threat playmaker threw for 1,102 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions and collected 175 yards on the ground and one score. Journeyman quarterback Jacoby Brissett won four of his 11 starting assignments and led the team with 12 touchdown passes.

Cleveland’s vaunted rushing attack finished sixth with 146.5 yards per game. Nick Chubb set career-highs with 302 rushes for 1,525 yards and found paydirt 12 times. The four-time Pro Bowl running back has averaged five yards or more per carry in all five of his NFL seasons. Veteran wideout Amari Cooper paced the team with 1,160 receiving yards and nine scores on 78 receptions. 

Safety Grant Delpit was the anchor of a defensive secondary that ranked fifth in passing yards allowed. The former second-round pick led the team with 101 tackles and tallied a team-high four interceptions. Cornerback Denzel Ward picked off three passes, and defensive end Myles Garrett posted 16 sacks for the second straight season. The former top overall pick has compiled 74.5 sacks in just six seasons. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

The 2022 season started slowly for the Pittsburgh Steelers as head coach Mike Tomlin’s troops dropped six of their first eight games. However, the Steelers regrouped to win seven of their final nine games, ending the season in third place with a 9-8 record. But the late season surge, which included a four-game winning streak to end the regular season, was not enough as Pittsburgh failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2019.

The 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt sustained a pectoral injury in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals and was placed on injured reserve. The former first-round pick returned in Week 10, finished the season with 39 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two interceptions, and was named to his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl team. 

Running back Najee Harris posted 1,000 yards on the ground for the second straight season and added 41 catches while scoring a combined 10 touchdowns. Diontae Johnson was the top receiver for Pittsburgh, with 86 receptions for 882 yards. But due to a mediocre passing attack that ranked 24th, Johnson failed to find the end zone despite 147 targets. Rookie George Pickens hauled in 52 passes for 801 yards and four scores.

Linebacker Myles Jack was the leading tackler for the NFL’s ninth-ranked run defense. Jack tallied 104 tackles, while Pro Bowl safety Minkah Fitzpatrick finished with 96 tackles and led the league with six interceptions. Levi Wallace chipped in four picks while edge rusher Alex Highsmith logged a team-high 14.5 sacks, and defensive tackle Cameron Heyward added 10.5 sacks. 

Even though the season has finished, we’ve got you covered with all the latest information on the NFL! We keep you as up to date as possible, so you don’t miss any of the action this off-season.

Marvin is a self-confessed sports fanatic who is addicted to the NFL, MLB and CFB. He has a passion for Daily Fantasy Sports and absolutely loves gambling and making money on his favorite sports. He has been an avid Dallas Cowboys fan since the 1970s and has been writing about sports for more than three decades. Whether he is making prop bets or choosing which teams will cover spreads, he is thrilled to provide relevant information for all of our readers.