THE AFC NORTH: Week 9

Street Talk THE AFC NORTH: Week 9

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“That’s why they’re 5-2 and we’re 2-5," Bengals WR TJ Houshmandzadeh said. "Good teams put it in the end zone. Teams like us kick field goals."
 
"The frustrating part is that we’re sitting here 2-5," said a glum Carson Palmer, who was 23 of 31 for 205 yards. "I never would have guessed it. I never would have thought it."
 
On the game-ending injury to Rams RB Steven Jackson:
 
"He was running like a wild beast and we matched his intensity, it just rubbed off on the whole team," Rams TE Randy McMichael said. "And then he’s out and we took a step back. We can’t do that."
 
"We didn’t adjust very well because they still moved the ball down the field," coach Romeo Crennel said. "If he had been able to stay in there, it could have been a different outcome."
 
AFC North
Team

 
W

 
L

 
T

 
PCT

 
PF

 
PA

 
Home

 
Road

 
AFC

 
NFC

 
DIV

 
Streak

 
Pittsburgh

 
5
2
0
.714
184
91
3-0
2-2
3-1
2-1
2-0
Won 1
Baltimore

 
4
3
0
.571
124
119
3-0
1-3
1-3
3-0
0-2
Lost 1
Cleveland

 
4
3
0
.571
194
203
3-1
1-2
3-3
1-0
2-1
Won 2
Cincinnati

 
2
5
0
.286
177
211
2-2
0-3
2-4
0-1
1-2
Lost 1
 
Week # 8 – AFC North Scores
 
Cleveland   27             St. Louis   20  
 
Pittsburgh  24             Cincinnati   13
 
Baltimore Ravens
 
The Baltimore Ravens had a bye in week # 8.
 
Cincinnati Bengals
 
Trailing 14-3, the Bengals drove to a fourth-and-1 from just inside the 2-yard line with 2:16 left in the 1st half. They needed only about 2 more feet to get the first down, and they initially looked like they would flex some muscle and go for it. Marvin Lewis called a timeout to talk it over. Then, he sent out the field goal unit. His players were stunned. "It’s like telling a kid he can have some candy and then saying, ‘Um, not right now,’ " TJ Houshmandzadeh said. Shayne Graham’s 20-yard kick had barely cleared the uprights when the stadium-record crowd of 66,188 started booing, an instant and emphatic second-guess. "In hindsight, we probably should have gone for it," Lewis said. The Steelers went up 21-6 with 8 seconds left in the half and the Bengals were held to 1 TD in the 2nd half on a Palmer to Houshmandzadeh TD pass covering 9 yards.
 
Cleveland Browns
 
The Cleveland Browns won for the 1st time on the road. QB Derek Anderson threw 3 TD passes, 2 to Braylon Edwards, and the Browns erased an early 14-point deficit in their victory over the winless Rams. Edwards tied his career best with 8 catches for 117 yards. The Cleveland defense made 2 big plays in the final 2 minutes. S Sean Jones stopped Brian Leonard for no gain on 4th-and-1 from the 16 and Leigh Bodden picked off Marc Bulger at the Cleveland 28 with 38 seconds left. The long-struggling Browns (4-3) matched their win total from last season and have won consecutive games for the 1st time since Weeks 5 and 6 of the 2003 season, 64 games ago. Anderson finished 18 of 25 for 248 yards. Jamal Lewis had 17 carries for 61 yards.
 
Pittsburgh Steelers
 
After the second-guessed Bengals FG and leading 14-6, the Steelers drove to Cincinnati’s 1-yard line with 8 seconds to go in the 1st half, then confidently gave the ball to Willie Parker, who had 126 yards overall. Parker hit pay-dirt. Those 2 drives — 1 ending with a FG, the other with a TD — defined the difference between the 2 teams. "That was huge," Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger said. "Anytime you get in the end zone before the half, especially with them getting the ball coming out of the half, it’s big." Roethlisberger was 19 of 26 for 230 yards with one costly mistake, a forced INT midway through the 3rd quarter that led to the Bengals only TD. Hines Ward, who missed 2 games this season with a knee injury, also had a diving 6-yard TD catch, his 3rd of the season and the 61st of his career, trailing John Stallworth’s club record by 2.
 
Week # 9 Predictions
 
Baltimore Ravens (4-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)
 
Baltimore has won 3 straight vs. Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh allowed 14 sacks vs. Baltimore last season. QB Ben Roethlisberger threw 4 INT and only 1 TD vs. Baltimore last season. RB Willie Parker rushed for 51 yards on 23 carries vs. Baltimore last season. He has never rushed for more than 63 yards vs. BAL in his career. QB Steve McNair completed 39-of-55 passes for 396 yards with 4 TD and 2 INT vs. Pittsburgh last season. Baltimore rushed for more than 100 yards in both match-ups vs. Pittsburgh last season. RB Willis McGahee is averaging a career-high 4.4 yards per carry.
 
Pittsburgh   26     Baltimore   20
 
Cincinnati Bengals (2-5) at Buffalo Bills (3-4)
 
Buffalo has won 3 of their last 4 after starting out 0-3. QB Trent Edwards has started 1 more game this season (4) than QB J.P. Losman (3). WR Chad Johnson has failed to record a TD in the last 5 games after catching 3 in their first 2 games. RB Rudi Johnson’s lone TD came on a 13-yard reception in Week Two. WR Lee Evans has 123 more yards in his last 2 games (236) than in his first 5 games (113).
 
Cincinnati   24     Buffalo   17
 
Cleveland Browns (4-3) vs. Seattle Seahawks (4-3)
 
WR Braylon Edwards has 5 TD catches in his last 2 games. QB Derek Anderson has completed 36-of-54 passes for 493 yards with 6 TD and 0 INT the last 2 games. Since Anderson entered the starting lineup, Cleveland has scored 24 points or more in 5-of-6 of his starts. Cleveland has allowed at least 356 yards in every game this season. They have only 7 sacks in 7 games this season.
 
Seattle WR Bobby Engram has caught 15 passes for 193 yards in his last 2 games. RB Shaun Alexander has rushed for 107 yards on 44 carries in Seattle’s last 3 games. Seattle hasn’t been penalized more than 35 yards in any game this season. They have 3 games of 5 sacks or more this season.
 
Cleveland   28   Seattle   20 
 
Record
Week # 8:      2 – 0   
Season:       16 – 7
 

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Eric Buckner

About Eric Buckner

Eric Buckner is a native of Baltimore and has lived in the area his entire life. A graduate of Towson University , Eric has been a student of professional football since the day he wept in his grandfather's bedroom after the Baltimore Colts were upset by the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. A loyal fan of the Colts and subsequently the Ravens, Eric's passion for the NFL is unwavering as evidenced by his near flawless attendance record at Ravens' games. He's missed only one preseason game -- back in 2005. We'll cut him some slack since he was on his honeymoon. You won't find Eric slacking when it comes to covering the AFC North for ProFootball24x7.com.   More from Eric Buckner

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