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Around the AFC North: Bengals Back Joe Burrow for MVP After He Tops Patrick Mahomes Again

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) carries the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) carries the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow Goes to 3-0 Against Patrick Mahomes

The Bengals (8-4) kept pace with the Ravens (8-4) in the AFC North, as quarterback Joe Burrow strengthened his case for MVP consideration.

Completing 25 of 31 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns, Burrow led Cincinnati to a 27-24 victory in Kansas City and raised Burrow's career record to 3-0 against the Chiefs and the former league MVP Patrick Mahomes.

Two of Burrow's victories against the Chiefs have come at Arrowhead Stadium, including last year's AFC Championship game. There are a number of quarterbacks vying for MVP consideration this season including Mahomes, Jalen Hurts of the Eagles, Josh Allen of the Bills and Tua Tagovailoa of the Dolphins. But the Bengals are backing their quarterback, and Head Coach Zac Taylor gave a one-word answer when asked if Burrow deserved MVP consideration.

"Absolutely," Taylor said via Ben Baby of

"He's one of the best quarterbacks in this league," wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase said. "Everybody knows that. He should be in the MVP race. If he's not in it, he should be. Number one quarterback in the race."

After an 0-2 start, the Bengals have won six of their last seven and have built momentum despite Chase and running back Joe Mixon missing time with injuries. Burrow said he's not worried about winning the MVP, but he wants his team to keep rolling.

"I don't play the game for those kinds of accolades," Burrow said. "I play the game for those guys in the locker room. What it takes from me every Sunday, that's what I'll do. If I have to hand the ball off 72 times and come out with a win, I'll be happy."

Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Pickett Finding Winning Formula

There have been growing pains for rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, but he's doing what it takes to help the Steelers (5-7) find some consistency.

Pickett has thrown for fewer than 200 yards in five of eight games since becoming the starter. However, he has gone four straight games without an interception, and Pittsburgh has won two straight for the first time all season after Sunday's 19-16 victory over Atlanta.

"Every week, I feel like I'm getting better, trying to build off the positives," Pickett said via Jarrett Bell of USA Today.

Pickett will get his first taste of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry in Week 14, facing a Ravens defense that will try to force him into mistakes. It will be another step in Pickett's learning curve.

"He's growing," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "And that's a reasonable expectation. He's a smart guy. He's got talent. He works at it. He's getting experience with each and every play, each and every day. So, I think it's a reasonable discussion to acknowledge that he's going to get better at fundamental things – taking care of the ball, managing us, communicating, having an opinion, a suggestion. He's just growing in all areas."

Cleveland Browns: Teammates Weren't Surprised Deshaun Watson Struggled

In his first game after serving his 11-game suspension for sexual misconduct allegations, Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson struggled (12 for 22, 131 yards, one interception) and was booed, returning to the city where he once played for the Houston Texans. But after Cleveland's 27-14 victory, his teammates said they would have patience waiting for Watson to play like a top quarterback again.

"We're not going to hold him to a crazy standard and expect him to be superman out there," All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett said via Mary Cay Cabot of "He hasn't played in two years. We know the kind of football player he's been in the past and what he's like. We've seen him on the practice field doing things athletically and through the air that few players can match.

"We're going to keep on playing complementary football. We're going to keep on playing as a team. He's going to eventually get his rhythm, get his feet underneath him and be able to play like he has in the past."

The Browns (5-7) still have slim playoff hopes, but face a critical game in Week 14 when they visit the Bengals.

"Next week, I definitely need to be better," Watson said. "I will be better. The team will be better."

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