Ravens thriving. We thought Baltimore would take a step back after winning the AFC North, but not because of quarterback Lamar Jackson’s transition to full-season starter. The Ravens lost defensive starters C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith and Eric Weddle in free agency. But the Ravens are 6-2 and their four-game winning streak including victories at Seattle and vs. New England. It’s time to take the Ravens more seriously than Kansas City as a threat to the Patriots. Their schedule is tricky, though — they play at Cincinnati on Sunday followed by a four-game stretch vs. Houston, at the Rams, vs. San Francisco and at Buffalo.
Steelers’ big test. Pittsburgh will complete its climb to above .500 after an 0-3 start if it can beat the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The Steelers (4-4) have won three consecutive games (Chargers, Miami and Indianapolis). But the margin for error remains razor thin. So what’s working lately? The defense is 11th in fewest yards allowed (335.5) and the Steelers took advantage of hosting Miami and Cincinnati (combined 1-15).
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Cornerback buyer beware. Two injured reserve cornerback moves during the week got our attention. The season is over for the Jets’ Trumaine Johnson (ankle) and Tennessee’s Malcolm Butler (wrist). Johnson signed a five-year, $72.5 million contract in 2018 and had five interceptions in 17 games. He will likely be released in March. Butler signed a five-year, $61 million deal, also in 2018. He has five interceptions in 25 games for the Titans. Big-time money that could have been spent at other positions.