THE AFC NORTH: Week 14

Street Talk THE AFC NORTH: Week 14

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Quotes of the Week:
 
"It’s hard to go out there and play the Patriots and the refs at the same time," Ravens CB Chris McAlister complained. "They put the crown on top of them, they want them to win. They won."
 
"The difference came down to some poise moments and critical moments when we had an opportunity in the first half," Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis said. "We got ourselves out of a (3rd-and-2) and I thought the Steelers were better than us on third down in the first half."
 
"We turned the ball over, we muffed punts, we had penalties," said Browns Head Coach Romeo Crennel. "We didn’t do a good enough job coaching; we didn’t do a good enough job playing."
 
“It is great to get another win, particularly in our division and at home,” said Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin. “We did fall short of perfection like we have in just about every game we have played thus far, but the guys were resilient. They didn’t blink. They stayed the course and were able to get it done.
 
AFC North
Team

 
W

 
L

 
T

 
PCT

 
PF

 
PA

 
Home

 
Road

 
AFC

 
NFC

 
DIV

 
Streak

 
Pittsburgh

 
9
3
0
.750
296
155
7-0
2-3
7-2
2-1
5-0
Won 2
Cleveland

 
7
5
0
.583
336
338
5-1
2-4
5-4
2-1
3-2
Lost 1
Baltimore

 
4
8
0
.333
206
270
3-3
1-5
1-8
3-0
0-5
Lost 6
Cincinnati

 
4
8
0
.333
291
316
3-3
1-5
4-6
0-2
2-3
Lost 1
 
Week # 13 – AFC North Scores
 
New England   27         Baltimore   24            
 
Arizona           27         Cleveland   21          
 
Pittsburgh       24         Cincinnati   10 
Baltimore Ravens
 
That the Ravens, losers of 6 straight, would test the Patriots so severely was stunning. Indeed, if not for untimely and questionable penalties and a fumble of an INT return by Ed Reed, the Ravens might have pulled off one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. Baltimore got a brilliant effort from Willis McGahee, who rushed for 138 yards and a TD. Kyle Boller threw for 2 scores, and the Ravens managed 3 sacks. But they couldn’t manage to hang on, although a 52-yard completion to Mark Clayton got them to the New England 3 as time ran out. The Ravens had more moments of brilliance Monday than the Pats, including their longest play of the season, a 53-yard completion by Boller to Devard Darling. The Ravens had the Patriots on the ropes, but just couldn’t deliver the knockout blow.
 
Cincinnati Bengals
 
The Bengals failed to get anything going offensively after the 1st quarter. Their rally at the end of the game fell short when they couldn’t convert on 4th-and-goal from the Pittsburgh 3-yard line. The Bengals couldn’t blame the field, as they managed only a FG after Rudi Johnson’s 1-yard TD run on their opening drive even though they had 3 possessions that began inside the Steelers’ 30-yard line. After a successful opening drive completing 6 of 7 passes to put his team up 7-0, QB Carson Palmer was only 11-of-37 to finish 17-of-44 for 183 yards. The 10 points scored by the Bengals were their fewest since the 2005 season finale when they managed just 3 in a 37-3 loss at Kansas City. Chad Johnson, who has only 1 career 100-yard game against Pittsburgh, had 6 catches for 86 yards. TJ Houshmandzadeh, who was leading the league after Week 12 with 83 catches, ended with 5 catches for 42 yards.
 
Cleveland Browns
 
It was over when Derek Anderson’s pass to Kellen Winslow in the end zone as time expired was ruled incomplete. The leaping catch by Winslow over 2 defenders was reviewed by officials and upheld. Anderson threw for 304 yards and had 2 TD tosses, but was intercepted twice and fumbled the ball away once for the Browns, who lost for just the 2nd time in 7 games. The Browns got a controversial 67-yard TD pass from Anderson to Braylon Edwards, and a 2-point conversion, to cut the lead to 21-18 on the final play of the 3rd quarter. Edwards topped 1,000 yards and caught his 12th TD pass of the season. A pair of late personal foul penalties damaged the Browns’ chances for a final comeback. Still, Cleveland drove to the Arizona 37 in the final seconds leading up to the ill-fated final play.
 
Pittsburgh Steelers
 
Getting their offense back after being held to 1 TD in 2 games by the losing-record Jets and winless Dolphins, the Steelers shook off an early 7-0 deficit to open a 2-game division lead. Hines Ward caught 2 TD passes from Ben Roethlisberger to break the Steelers’ record for career scoring catches. Roethlisberger, who also scrambled 6 yards for a TD, ended a 66-yard drive immediately before halftime with a 2-yard TD flip to Ward that made it 17-7. Roethlisberger also hit Ward on an 8-yard scoring pass late in the 3rd quarter that expanded the lead to 14 points and gave Ward 64 career TD catches, 1 more than Hall of Famer John Stallworth. Roethlisberger was 8-of-12 for all 66 yards on the 12-play drive that ended with his 2-yard pass to Ward. He wasn’t sacked once after being dropped 16 times in his previous 3 games. 
 
Week # 14 Predictions
 
Baltimore Ravens (4-8) vs. Indianapolis Colts (10-2)
 
Indianapolis WR Reggie Wayne and TE Dallas Clark combined for 15-218-3 in Week 13. Indianapolis has won 10+ games in 6 consecutive seasons. Baltimore held QB Peyton Manning to 15-of-30 passing for 170 yards with no TD and 2 INT in the last match-up between the teams. Entering this game, RB Willis McGahee has rushed for 1 TD in 7 consecutive games. Baltimore has scored 10 points or less in its last 3 games vs. the Colts.
 
Indianapolis   30     Baltimore   20
 
Cincinnati Bengals (4-8) vs. St. Louis Rams (3-9)
 
The teams last played in 2003, with St. Louis winning 27-10 at home. St. Louis has won 3-of-4 after losing its first 8 games. RB Steven Jackson has rushed for 88-354-3 the last 4 games. Take out TD runs of 50 and 53 yards in the last 2 games and Jackson has rushed for 41-73-0. WR Torry Holt is on pace for 96 catches. Cincinnati’s long run this season is 21 yards. QB Carson Palmer has 5 games of 2+ INT this season.
 
Cincinnati   27   St. Louis   24
 
Cleveland Browns (7-5) at New York Jets (3-9)
 
Cleveland hasn’t lost back-to-back games yet this season. They are on pace for 448 points, which would set a team record. They have scored 336 points, the most since 1994 (340). QB Derek Anderson’s 3,062 passing yards are the most since the Browns returned to Cleveland in 1999. He has passed for multiple TD in 8 of 12 games. Cleveland held last week’s opponent, Arizona, to 302 yards of offense, the lowest number of yards it has yielded in a game. New York has won 2-of-3 since its Week 10 bye. The teams last played in 2006, with Cleveland winning 20-13 at home. New York has allowed 35 sacks. The 40 points New York scored last week were the most it has scored in a game since 2004.
 
Cleveland   33     New York   20
 
Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3) at New England Patriots (12-0)
 
New England has an 8-game winning streak at home, including the 2006 playoffs. They have won 5 of their last 6 vs. Pittsburgh. CB Asante Samuel ranks second in the league in INT a year after leading the NFL with 10 INT. QB Ben Roethlisberger has already tossed 7 more TD (25) than his previous career-high for a season. OLB James Harrison has notched 8.5 sacks and forced 7 fumbles. RB Willie Parker has been held under 100 yards 4 times in the past 5 games.
 
New England   30     Pittsburgh   17
 
Record
Week # 14:      2 – 1      
Season:         26 – 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.
 

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