AFC NORTH: Week 15

Street Talk AFC NORTH: Week 15

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Quotes of the Week:
 
"It’s the same old scenario: You can’t win when you turn the ball over against any team, let alone a team like that," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "It’s hugely disappointing to our fans, the players; the organization, everybody, to not follow up last Monday with a better game than that."
 
"We ran some more Rudi runs in this game, which helped our offense," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said, referring to straight-ahead, power plays. "Some of the things we’ve done in the past, we got back to doing."
 
"The game came down to onside kicks and we were fortunate to grab a few," Browns receiver Joe Jurevicius said. "It should never come down to that, but we were able to get two out of three."
 
“The Patriots were the better team today,” said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. “We couldn’t stop them consistently and couldn’t make critical plays when we had to, particularly in the second half. We have some work to do. We have a ways to go. If that’s the measuring stick, we aren’t close.”
 
AFC North
Team

 
W

 
L

 
T

 
PCT

 
PF

 
PA

 
Home

 
Road

 
AFC

 
NFC

 
DIV

 
Streak

 
Pittsburgh

 
9
4
0
.692
309
189
7-0
2-4
7-3
2-1
5-0
Lost 1
Cleveland

 
8
5
0
.615
360
356
5-1
3-4
6-4
2-1
3-2
Won 1
Cincinnati

 
5
8
0
.385
310
326
4-3
1-5
4-6
1-2
2-3
Won 1
Baltimore

 
4
9
0
.308
226
314
3-4
1-5
1-9
3-0
0-5
Lost 7
 
Week # 14 – AFC North Scores
 
Indianapolis    44       Baltimore           20               
 
Cincinnati         19       St. Louis              10          
 
Cleveland          24      New York Jets   18
 
New England   34       Pittsburgh          13
 
Baltimore Ravens
 
Baltimore has lost a franchise-record 7 straight. Coming off an inspired effort in a 27-24 loss to the unbeaten New England Patriots, the Ravens committed 5 turnovers, had a punt blocked and managed only 57 yards in offense through the first 30 minutes. At halftime, with Indianapolis leading 37-7 and a driving rain making things even more uncomfortable for the home fans, well over half the crowd of 70,513 headed for the exits. Ravens QB Kyle Boller threw 3 INT and lost a fumble. He was 5-for-8 for 17 yards in the decisive 1st half, and 19-for-25 for 132 yards and a TD overall. Boller was replaced by 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith with 2:21 left. Making his NFL debut, Smith capped a 41-yard drive with a 6-yard TD run. The Ravens played without injured CB Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle.
 
Cincinnati Bengals
 
Rudi Johnson ran 1 yard for a TD, Shayne Graham kicked four FG on a nasty day, and the Cincinnati Bengals took advantage of the St. Louis Rams’ novice quarterback Brock Berlin in their victory. A steady, sometimes driving rain on a 38-degree afternoon made it tough to throw, catch or hold onto the slick footballs. "It was tough," said Bengals QB Carson Palmer, who was 21-of-29 for 189 yards. "We were expecting a light drizzle, but it was pouring.” The Bengals put it away by giving the ball to Johnson, who has been limited most of the season by a hamstring injury. Johnson carried on 6 consecutive plays and gained 48 yards in the closing minutes, setting up Graham’s final, clinching FG. The Bengals ran for a season-high 189 yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.
 
Cleveland Browns
 
The New York Jets lined up for an onside kick and tried to steal the game from the Cleveland Browns. Then, Joe Jurevicius got in the Jets’ way — twice. The wide receiver recovered 2 late onside kicks to help Cleveland improve its playoff hopes with a slippery victory punctuated by a wild final few minutes. Derek Anderson threw 2 TD passes, Jamal Lewis had a TD catch and added a 31-yard TD run with 1:22 left, and the Browns ruined any plans the Jets had of pulling off an upset in a match-up of quarterbacks who were childhood rivals in Oregon ( Anderson and Kellen Clemens) . With 118 yards, Jamal Lewis recorded his third 100-yard rushing game this season. Cleveland trails only Jacksonville (9-4) among wild-card contenders in the AFC. "We’re in the playoffs right now." Lewis said. "We’ve got three games left and we’re trying to win all of them."
 
Pittsburgh Steelers
 
Steelers S Anthony Smith, who guaranteed his team would win, was burned on 2 long scoring throws. Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin discounted the impact of Smith’s guarantee. "The comments were irrelevant," he said. "It’s how you play when the game begins." The Steelers led 3-0 on Jeff Reed’s 23-yard field goal, then fell behind 14-3 on Moss’ 2 TD. But QB Ben Roethlisberger’s 32-yard scoring pass to Najeh Davenport cut that to 14-10. Reed added a 44-yard field goal late in the 1st half. Roethlisberger completed 19 of 32 passes for 187 yards and 1 TD. RB Willie Parker managed to pick up 124 yards on 24 carries, but the defense couldn’t stop the big play from the Patriots. Pittsburgh played without starting safeties Ryan Clark, on injured reserve, and Troy Polamalu, who has a knee injury.
 
Week # 15 Predictions
 
Baltimore Ravens (4-9) at Miami Dolphins (0-13)
 
The teams last met in 2004, with the Ravens winning 30-23 in Baltimore in the final week of the regular season. Miami has won 4-of-6 vs. Baltimore in the last 10 years. Baltimore has lost 7 straight. QB Kyle Boller has lost his last 9 road starts. Boller last won on the road on Nov. 14, 2004 vs. the N.Y. Jets. Miami has surrendered 140+ rushing yards in 9-of-13 games. QB John Beck doesn’t have a TD pass in 86 attempts. Miami WR have caught only 3 TD this season.
 
Baltimore   24     Miami   9 
 
Cincinnati Bengals (5-8) at San Francisco 49ers (3-10)
 
Cincinnati has allowed an average of 73.2 rushing yards in its last 5 games. RB Rudi Johnson has scored in 3 straight games. QB Carson Palmer hasn’t thrown a TD pass in his last two starts. San Francisco hasn’t scored more than 10 points in its last 5 home games. LB Patrick Willis has 136 tackles in 13 games. QB Shaun Hill has completed 22-of-28 passes for 181 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT this season.
 
Cincinnati   33     San Francisco   20 
 
Cleveland Browns (8-5) vs. Buffalo Bills (7-6)
 
Buffalo QB Trent Edwards tossed 4 TD last week, which were 3 more than he passed for in his previous 6 career games. Buffalo is 6-2 in its last 8 games. Buffalo collected a season-high 5 sacks last week vs. Miami. With 8 wins, Cleveland has already doubled its win total from 2006. QB Derek Anderson has thrown 24 TD. The New York Jets out-gained Cleveland by 50 yards last week, but Cleveland still won.
 
Cleveland   26     Buffalo   23
 
Pittsburgh Steelers (9-4) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-4)
 
Jacksonville QB David Garrard has tossed 13 TD and just 1 INT. WR Reggie Williams has caught 4 TD in the last 6 games. Jacksonville held Carolina to just 149 yards last week. Pittsburgh is 7-0 at home. Before losing by 21 points last week, Pittsburgh had lost its three games by a combined 13 points. QB Ben Roethlisberger has already exceeded his previous career-high in TD for a season by 8. He has 26.
 
Pittsburgh   21     Jacksonville   20 
 
Record
 
Week # 14:      4 – 0
Season:         30 – 12
 
Photo by Sabina Moran

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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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