AFC NORTH: Week 16

Street Talk AFC NORTH: Week 16

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Quotes of note from week #15 in the AFC North:

"We make the plays when they count," Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes said. "It doesn’t matter how the game goes through the course of three quarters. It always comes down to playing four quarters of football."

"We came up short. They got it done," Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "They’re division champs – let’s give them credit. Now it’s our task to make the playoffs."

"How do you think I feel?" Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson said. "Look at my face. I actually want to go out and go to the restaurant and eat and not have to worry about the questions."

"Our guys tried but I don’t think we have enough ammunition to match up with them," Browns Head Coach Romeo Crennel said. "We fought in there defensively. We gave up some yards and got some turnovers. We were ineffective running the ball."
 

AFC North

Team

W

L

T

PCT

PF

PA

Home

Road

AFC

NFC

DIV

Streak

Pittsburgh

11

3

0

.786

302

192

5-2

6-1

9-1

2-2

5-0

Won 5

Baltimore

9

5

0

.643

325

213

5-2

4-3

7-4

2-1

4-2

Lost 1

Cleveland

4

10

0

.286

232

305

1-6

3-4

3-7

1-3

1-3

Lost 4

Cincinnati

2

11

1

.179

174

358

2-4-1

0-7

1-9

1-2-1

0-5

Won 1

 
Week #15 Scores in the AFC North

Pittsburgh        13        Baltimore       9

Cincinnati         20       Washington   13        

Philadelphia      30       Cleveland      10

 
Baltimore Ravens

"All game they didn’t make plays," Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said. "One drive they did." Matt Stover kicked three field goals for the Ravens, who remain in the wild-card hunt despite being eliminated from the division race. "We’ll be fine," said rookie quarterback Joe Flacco, who went 11-for-28 for 115 yards and two interceptions. Down 9-3, the Steelers used a 30-yard pass from Roethlisberger to Ward to set up a 30-yard field goal by Jeff Reed with 9:26 to go. Baltimore then moved to the Pittsburgh 27, but a third-down sack forced the Ravens to punt, setting up the dramatic conclusion. "They got a big sack when they had to at the end of the game … then took the ball down the field and scored," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "That’s the way they’ve won games."

Baltimore used an outstanding punt and a turnover to take the 9-3 third-quarter lead. After Sam Koch punted to the Pittsburgh 1, Holmes caught a pass but fumbled when hit by Samari Rolle. Ed Reed returned the ball to the 16, setting up a 28-yard field goal. Later in the quarter, Holmes muffed a punt. Pittsburgh’s Keyaron Fox took the loose ball 18 yards to the Baltimore 33, but Roethlisberger fumbled when sacked by Terrell Suggs on third-and-1 and Brandon McKinney plucked the loose ball out of the air for the Ravens. The Ravens offense had 3 opportunities; deep in the red zone, but were only able to put 9 points on the scoreboard against the vaunted Steelers defense.
 

Cincinnati Bengals

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick ran for one touchdown and threw for another, leading the Cincinnati Bengals to a 20-13 victory that ended the Redskins’ week of grousing. And, pretty much, their playoff chances, too. An offensive line missing both tackles with injuries couldn’t open holes for Clinton Portis at the outset. Washington fell behind 17-0 against a team that considers it a big day when it scores even one touchdown. Fitzpatrick shocked the Redskins’ hardscrabble defense by reviving an offense that hadn’t reached the end zone in 12 quarters. His 79-yard screen pass to Cedric Benson gave the Bengals their longest play of the season and set up one of the scores.

Fitzpatrick also scored from the 1-yard line on a bootleg, going into the end zone untouched. "That’s a play that’s in the playbook that never gets called," said Fitzpatrick, who was 16-of-29 passing for 209 yards. "You fake the handoff and turn around and hope you don’t get smacked in the jaw. I saw a lot of green grass in front of me. That was great to see." The Bengals appeared to put the final touches on a victory when Shayne Graham kicked a 45-yard field goal with 2:20 left. But for Cincinnati, nothing comes easy. Rock Cartwright returned the kickoff 87 yards to the 13. From there, Portis ran for no gain, Campbell threw away a pass, and Portis dropped a third-down screen pass that hit him in the hands.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns have lost four in a row. At least they finally scored a touchdown on Brandon McDonald’s 24-yard interception return in the fourth quarter. The Browns, who didn’t reach the end zone in the previous three games, could be looking for a new coach to replace Romeo Crennel after the season. Cleveland’s Ken Dorsey, making his second straight start for the injured Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn, was intercepted twice. "I made two mistakes that cost us pretty good," Dorsey said. "I can’t put the defense in that spot." Dorsey completed 11 of his 28 pass attempts for 156 yards along with the 2 INT.

Jamal Lewis carried 14 times and was able to pick up a scant 32 yards as Cleveland’s offense was kept out of the red zone for the 4th straight game. Braylon Edwards caught 5 passes for 102 yards, his 3rd 100 yard receiving game of the season all of which occurred on a Monday night. Phil Dawson kicked his 30th field goal, setting a single-season franchise record. The Browns used three different starting QBs for their three Monday night games, going 2-1. Cleveland has lost 10 or more games seven times since 1999.  TE Kellen Winslow (ankle) and RB Jerome Harrison (ribs) sat out for the Browns.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are AFC North champions, and earning the crown at the expense of the Baltimore Ravens adding an extra measure of joy to the accomplishment. Santonio Holmes caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger with 43 seconds left, and the Steelers clinched their second straight division title and earned a first-round bye by beating Baltimore 13-9 Sunday. In a duel between the top two defenses in the NFL, Pittsburgh did not permit a touchdown in earning its first win in Baltimore since 2002. As the Steelers filed into the locker room, a voice rose from the crowd of players: "We’re still the No. 1 defense! We showed you boys how to play defense!"

Pittsburgh limited the Ravens to a season-low 202 yards. The Steelers have gone 14 straight games without yielding 300 yards, tying the 1973 Los Angeles Rams for the longest streak to start a season since the NFL merger in 1970.

Many of the players wore hats that proclaimed Pittsburgh as AFC North champions. Pittsburgh trailed 9-6 before moving 92 yards in 12 plays to score the game’s lone touchdown and take the lead for the first time. Roethlisberger went 7-for-11 for 89 yards on the drive. Pittsburgh has come from behind in the fourth quarter four times this season, including last week against Dallas, when the Steelers scored 17 points in the final eight minutes of a 20-13 win over Dallas.

 

Week #16 Match-ups and Predictions

Baltimore at Dallas

Dallas recorded 8 sacks in their week 15 victory over the Giants. Tashard Choice has 309 total yards in his past 2 games. Roy Williams hasn’t exceeded 51 receiving yards in any of his starts with Dallas and has not caught a TD pass since October 26th. DeMarcus Ware has at least 1 sack in 24 of his last 28 games. Baltimore last won a road night game in 2004. Joe Flacco has completed 21 of his last 49 passes for 249 yards.

ITH PREDICTION –   Dallas   23       Baltimore   13

Cincinnati at Cleveland

Cedric Benson racked up 161 total yards last week. TJ Houshmandzadeh needs 8 catches for 100 on the season. Cincinnati is 2-13 on the road since 2006. Cleveland is 3-1 at home in December since 2006 however they have lost 4 straight at home.

ITH PREDICTION –   Cleveland   20     Cincinnati   10

Pittsburgh at Tennessee

Opponent averaged 160 yards rushing in the 3 games Albert Haynesworth missed last season. Tennessee has allowed only 8 QB sacks. Both of Tennessee’s losses came when Kerry Collins attempted more than 30 passes. Pittsburgh has 47 QB sacks. Pittsburgh has allowed 109.7 rush yards in its last 3 games.

ITH PREDICTION –   Pittsburgh   23       Tennessee   20

Last Week Record:    2 – 1

Season to Date:     30 – 15

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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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