Street Talk THE AFC NORTH: Week 13

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Quotes of the Week:
"We gave them two lollipops," Ravens Pro Bowl linebacker Bart Scott said on the 2 TD passes yielded by the Ravens defense in the 2nd qtr.
"Last week was tough for me because I felt like I lost the game for the team. It was a long week for me," Bengals QB Carson Palmer said after rebounding from the 1st 4-interception game of his career. "I’m over it now, we’re over it as a team, and we can start worrying about Pittsburgh on Sunday night."
“We kind of control our own destiny," said linebacker Andra Davis, 1 of the few Browns still around from Cleveland’s 2002 playoff team. "I’ve been waiting a long time to say that."
"Those conditions, whew, they were horrendous," Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward said after daylong rain and new sod created awful playing conditions. "The footing was bad; all of a sudden you’d hit a water puddle and sink down. Some of the defensive backs were scared about falling down and giving up a big play."
AFC North














Won 1

Won 2

Lost 5

Won 1
Week # 12 – AFC North Scores
San Diego    32            Baltimore    14        
Cincinnati     35          Tennessee   6          
Cleveland      27          Houston      17
Pittsburgh      3            Miami          0  
Baltimore Ravens
Five different Chargers combined to sack Ravens QB Kyle Boller for losses of 37 yards and also forced 2 fumbles. The Ravens set a franchise record with their 5th straight loss and tumbled into a last-place tie in the AFC North with Cincinnati. S Ed Reed bit hard on a pump fake and QB Phillip Rivers found TE Antonio Gates wide open in zone coverage for a 35-yard TD pass midway through the 2nd qtr. Rivers hit an equally open Chris Chambers on a 5-yard scoring toss just before halftime. Gates caught a 25-yard TD pass early in the third quarter. RB Willis McGahee (17 carries for 59 yards on the day) scored on a 1-yard run in the 1st quarter and Boller (21 completions on 33 attempts) threw a 13-yard TD pass to Le’Ron McClain in the 3rd. Derrick Mason had 7 catches for 99 yards.
Cincinnati Bengals
WR Chad Johnson had a career-high 12 catches, set the Cincinnati record for career receptions, and scored 3 TD in the Bengals victory. Johnson had 103 yards and his 1st TD since a 51-45 loss in Cleveland on Sept. 16. Carson Palmer made up for one of the worst games of his career with one of his best, going 32-of-38 for 283 yards. The Bengals converted 14 of their 18 third-down chances. Palmer’s completion percentage of 84.2 percent was a career high. While the Bengals scored 5 TD on 6 red-zone trips with Palmer’s 3 TD passes giving him 99 for his career, the defense gave the Titans no TD on five red-zone forays. The Bengals bend but don’t break defensive unit stuffed the Titans’ No. 4 running game on 61 yards and were successful 8 out of 10 times on third down and on both fourth-down tries.
Cleveland Browns
QB Derek Anderson threw 2 TD passes, Jamal Lewis rushed for 134 yards and a TD and Kellen Winslow had 10 catches as the Browns, whose season has been filled with drama, controversy and overtimes, improved their playoff profile with Sunday’s victory. With their 5th straight victory at home and 5th win in 6 games overall, the Browns stayed within striking distance of first-place Pittsburgh in the AFC North and among the wild-card contenders. Phil Dawson kicked field goals of 25 and 27 yards; with 759 points, he moved past Hall of Famer Jim Brown on Cleveland’s career scoring list. Showing nice balance, Cleveland’s offense ran smoothly behind Anderson, who went 24-of-35 for 253 yards and 2 TD. And when Anderson couldn’t do it in the air, he handed the ball to Lewis, who had his first 100-yard game since getting 216 in Week 2 against Cincinnati.
Pittsburgh Steelers
A terrible field and dreadful weather caused the Dolphins and Steelers to rewind to a different NFL era, a time when points came at a premium and 1 FG could decide a game. They trudged through the quagmire of Heinz Field, nearly going all night without scoring. Jeff Reed’s 24-yard FG with 17 seconds left Monday night gave Pittsburgh a 3-0 victory over winless Miami, the first time in 64 years an NFL game went that long without any points. The only scoring drive started on the Dolphins 42 after Miami punted out of its end zone. Ben Roethlisberger drove the Steelers into FG range with completions of 21, 11 and 6 yards to Hines Ward. The Steelers ended with 216 yards, with Willie Parker running for 81 to go over 1,000 for the 3rd straight season. Wide receivers slipped on several pass plays, and running backs repeatedly lost their footing before tacklers arrived on a drenched field. 
Week # 13 Predictions
Baltimore Ravens (4-7) vs. New England Patriots (11-0)
Baltimore has lost 5 straight after starting out 4-2. QB Kyle Boller’s QB rating of 71.9 is actually the 2nd-highest of his 5-year NFL career (104.0 in 2006). RB Willis McGahee has exceeded 60 yards rushing just once in the past 4 games. New England QB Tom Brady threw just 1 TD last week vs. Philadelphia, the 1st time this season he’s thrown less than 3 TD in a game. Their 3-point win vs. Philadelphia was its smallest margin of victory this season. Tom Brady’s 54 passes last week were 8 more than his previous season-high for pass attempts.
New England   37     Baltimore   13
Cincinnati Bengals (4-7) at Pittsburgh Steelers (-)
Cincinnati has rushed for 100 yards or more 3 times this season, and they have scored 118 points in those 3 games. They have averaged 411 yards of offense in their last 2 games. RB Rudi Johnson and WR Chad Johnson scored their first TD since Week 2 in the Week 12 win vs. Tennessee. Cincinnati has won 3 of the last 4 meetings between the clubs at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh RB Willie Parker has rushed for more than 100 yards in 4-of-5 career regular-season starts vs. Cincinnati and has 393 rushing yards and 5 TD in his last 3 games vs. Cincinnati.
Pittsburgh   31     Cincinnati   20
Cleveland Browns (7-4) at Arizona Cardinals (5-6)
Cleveland RB Jamal Lewis has rushed for 51-226-2 in his last 2 starts. QB Derek Anderson’s 22 TD passes are the most by a Browns QB since Bernie Kosar in 1987. WR Braylon Edwards’ 11 TD catches are the most by a Browns receiver since 1969.
Cleveland has 350 yards of offense or more in 6 of its last 7 games. It has scored 27+ points in its last 6 games. Arizona QB Kurt Warner has fumbled 8 times this season, losing 5. WR Larry Fitzgerald has caught 25-323-5 in the last 3 games. Only 1 of Arizona’s losses has come to a team that currently has a .500 record (Tampa Bay, Week Nine).
Cleveland   28     Arizona   24 
Week # 12:      3 – 1         
Season:         24 – 11
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   More from Eric Buckner


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