BEHIND ENEMY LINES: Bengals Continue Emergence as Class of AFC North

daltonjones

It was another one of those unpredictable NFL weekends, and the madness certainly applied to games in the AFC North. While the Ravens took their week off and rested, the Browns, Steelers, and Bengals did battle in games they all had the chance to win.

Some were more lopsided than others (Thanks a lot, Jets). Others hit two contenders in the North for quite possibly, the final blow to their chances to make the playoffs in 2013. Check out the most noteworthy items as we take our weekly look “Behind Enemy Lines”.

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Dalton the Real Deal: I anticipated Andy Dalton would have an impressive season, but after watching him completely shred the New York Jets defense, I realize that this seems to be his year that he shows what he’s made of.

Dalton had his first five-touchdown game since coming out of TCU in 2011 in Sunday’s 49-9 demolition of Rex Ryan and the Jets. The third-year quarterback threw for 325 yards and had a quarterback rating of 125.7, his third straight over 105.0. He’s quickly shutting up all of the doubters with his precision passing and big plays.

If Dalton can continue his rout of defenses, the Bengals should be able to take the AFC North. Will he continue his dominance, or will he struggle down the stretch similar to the way he did against Pittsburgh earlier in the year?

A.J Green, Step Aside: Cincinnati has a cluster of impressive playmakers. With A.J Green, Tyler Eifert and Giovanni Bernard on the same field at once, opposing defensive coordinators are certain to have enough nightmares. It’s safe to say that those coordinators have to add emerging Marvin Jones to that list.

Jones had a career day against the Jets, reeling in four touchdowns over eight catches for 122 yards. It might be a fluke, or it might be a sign of things to come. Either way, you have to believe that defenses are going to keep a close eye on Jones when he steps on the gridiron.

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Keeping it Close in KC: You have to give Cleveland credit. After dealing Trent Richardson to the Colts and seemingly giving up on their season, they have played some pretty good football.

That continued on Sunday as the Chiefs had a tough time getting much together. No matter what the score, this Browns team plays hard, allowing them to stay in games late. Jason Campbell had a nice day, Josh Gordon continued his emergence, and the defense sacked Alex Smith five times. Even though it counted as a loss, the Browns showed some signs of life against the now 8-0 Chiefs.

Ravens Travel to the Factory of Sadness: Don’t let this team’s struggles fool you—there’s nothing to take lightly about Jason Campbell and this team.

Every year the Ravens travel to Cleveland, it seems as though it’s a typical AFC North nail-biter to remember. I expect this match-up to be more of the same thanks to Cleveland’s gritty nature. They have players that have been involved in this rivalry for a while, and they want a win just as bad as John Harbaugh’s crew. Though the players are different, they know that their team hasn’t beaten the Ravens since 2007. They’re hungry to knock off the champs and put a stop to that streak.

For the Ravens, they’ll have to take advantage of their running backs and use each accordingly. The Browns have a tendency to give up some big plays to backs in the passing game. Jim Caldwell must use the ability of Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones to stretch the defense to open up the check-down game, and utilize Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, and hopefully Bernard Scott accordingly.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Owned by Raiders…Again: It appears we have found the one place Pittsburgh does not like going—Oakland. After losing last year, giving up 30+ points, they were looking to get revenge against a very beatable Raider team. Let’s just say that didn’t happen. And, although the score says otherwise, the Steelers never really had a chance.

Terrelle Pryor only had 88 yards passing, but he had 106 yards rushing, 93 of those coming on the opening play, a touchdown scamper that helped the Raiders leap ahead of Pittsburgh in this one. Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t much better, showing again that his status as the best quarterback in the AFC North is anything but secure.

Here are some stats that contributed to the Steelers’ letdown:

 

  • LeVeon Bell just 1.8 yards per carry
  • 4-15 on 3rd down
  • Just 276 NET yards
  • Suisham 1-3 in field goal attempts 

The Road Ahead: The Steelers will have to lose just two more games to even have a shot at the playoffs, and with their upcoming opponents, I can’t see that happening. With the Patriots, Packers, Lions, Ravens and Browns (twice) in their future, it’s safe to say that Mike Tomlin’s Steelers have a pretty insurmountable task in front of them.

That doesn’t make their season irrelevant however—keep rooting for a Pittsburgh loss. The last thing Baltimore needs is a Steelers team still in the playoff hunt on Thanksgiving Night when the Ravens play host.

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured by Joe Wedra. Bookmark the permalink.

About Joe Wedra

Joe Wedra
Joe has a passion for the Ravens and spends a great amount of time analyzing and often scrutinizing the various moves within the organization. He is an NFL Draft enthusiast and spends much of his free time studying tape of upcoming prospects. Although he’s young, he’s committed to absorbing as...more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 
evden eve nakliyat şirketleri ofis taşımacılığı evden eve nakliye istanbul evden eve nakliyat Şehirlerarası Evden Eve Nakliyat İstanbul Nakliyat Firmaları

Hot off the street

CAMP NOTES: Canty Stalls at the Line & Simon Says Hustle

To echo the famous words of one Forrest Gump: “Watching Chris Canty is like a box of chocolates. You just never know what you’re going to get play-to-play.”  Alright, so maybe the quote d...read more

CAMP NOTES: Urban Tears His ACL

Several veterans were given the day off on defense as the Ravens held an early morning practice at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills including Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata. One ...read more

CAMP NOTES: Rick Wagner Has Best Day of Camp

On a day overshadowed by Ray Rice speaking at the podium, the Ravens hit the practice field under cool weather conditions at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills. Many eyes are focus...read more

Improved OL Key to Ravens’ Playoff Hopes

With the first preseason game just a week away for the Baltimore Ravens, and the regular season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals quickly approaching, it's hard not to be optimistic about the 2014...read more

CAMP NOTES: Daniels Finding His Groove With Ravens

TRENDS AND TECHNIQUES The receivers have been doing a better job of getting off the line against press coverage and perhaps the most interesting development is that they are using their feet more tha...read more

View More