AFC NORTH: Week 14

Street Talk AFC NORTH: Week 14

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Quotes of note from week #13 in the AFC North:

“When you get your head kicked in like that, there’s not much to say," Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis said. "This team won’t have to go through another season like this. Nor will the fans." 

"We take pride in three-and-outs," said Ravens Linebacker Ray Lewis. "Just the way guys are flying to the ball, it’s incredible."

"We heard a lot of talk about it being a rivalry," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. "It hasn’t been much of a rivalry until you win some. That’s what we talked about coming up here."

"The guys aren’t going to give up," Browns Quarterback Derek Anderson said. "Every single guy in here cares about each other and cares about winning. We love RAC (Crennel) and we’re going to play for RAC. That’s the biggest thing in the last four weeks."


 

AFC North

Team

W

L

T

PCT

PF

PA

Home

Road

AFC

NFC

DIV

Streak

Pittsburgh

9

3

0

.750

269

170

4-2

5-1

8-1

1-2

4-0

Won 3

Baltimore

8

4

0

.667

292

190

4-1

4-3

7-3

1-1

4-1

Won 2

Cleveland

4

8

0

.333

213

247

1-6

3-2

3-6

1-2

1-3

Lost 2

Cincinnati

1

10

1

.125

151

310

1-4-1

0-6

1-8

0-2-1

0-5

Lost 2

 
Week #13 Scores in the AFC North

Baltimore       34       Cincinnati           3

Indianapolis    10       Cleveland            6

Pittsburgh      33       New England     10

 
Baltimore Ravens

On a cold, wet afternoon that turned fingertips numb, receiver Mark Clayton had the touch. Clayton put a little sizzle into Baltimore’s evolving offense Sunday, throwing a touchdown pass and making a spectacular one-handed catch for another during a 34-3 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals that kept the Ravens in the AFC North chase.

"I just think it’s exciting the way we’re playing football right now," linebacker Ray Lewis said.

Now that their offense is coming around, the Ravens have it all going for them. Baltimore has won six of its past seven games with its renowned defense and an offense coming into its own behind rookie quarterback Joe Flacco. Each week, the Ravens give him a little more of the playbook. Flacco had another beyond-his-years showing, completing 19-of-29 for 280 yards and two touchdowns. In the past seven games, the first-round pick from Delaware has thrown 11 touchdowns with only two interceptions, taking more chances with his receivers. A light mist turned the 40-degree afternoon nasty and numbing — perfect conditions for the Ravens defense. They forced the Bengals to tie a club record with 11 punts. The Ravens swept their season series with Cincinnati for the first time since 2002.

Cincinnati Bengals

In the third quarter, the Ravens Mark Clayton lined up to the left, took a handoff from Flacco and headed for the right sideline, selling the play as a reverse. Cornerback Leon Hall fell for it, letting Derrick Mason run free down the right sideline.

 "I was just playing outside defense," Hall said. "It was man-to-man. He was my guy to cover”.

The Bengals managed only six first downs, matching the club record last recorded in 1992. On 10 of their 14 possessions, the Bengals failed to get a first down. The Ravens threw a different type of aggressiveness at Ryan Fitzpatrick, repeatedly knocking him down and swatting his passes away. Fitzpatrick, filling in for the injured Carson Palmer for the seventh straight game, got so discombobulated that the ball sailed out of his hand as he tried to make one throw. One telling statistic: On the Bengals’ first six possessions, they ran 18 plays and managed only 20 yards.

"Obviously, we’re in a funk," said Fitzpatrick, who ended up the team’s leading rusher for the third time this season. "We have personnel that are better than these statistics." The few thousand fans left in the stands cheered when third-string quarterback Jordan Palmer came in during the closing minutes, then booed when his first pass was intercepted by Jim Leonhard and returned 36 yards for a touchdown.

Cleveland Browns

Colts’ DE Robert Mathis scooped up quarterback Derek Anderson’s fumble and rumbled 37 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Colts stayed in the thick of the AFC playoff chase by winning their fifth straight, 10-6 over the Cleveland Browns, who suffered another demoralizing loss on Sunday. The Browns held Manning and Co. without a TD, but still hit a new low in their sunken season. They lost their fourth straight at home and will likely be without quarterback Derek Anderson for their final four games. Anderson, starting in place of the injured Brady Quinn, sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee when he was hit by the helmet of his teammate in the closing minutes. Beleaguered Browns coach Romeo Crennel said Anderson "may be in tough shape" and said Ken Dorsey is his starter for next Sunday at Tennessee.

On Cleveland’s last drive, Anderson, making his first start since being benched by Crennel, was dropping back to pass when offensive tackle Kevin Shaffer was knocked back into him by a charging Mathis. Anderson tried to get up, but couldn’t and had to be helped to the sideline. Dorsey came in for the final three plays and was intercepted on the Browns’ last snap.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers snapped the Patriots’ spell over them with a plan that has worked all season: knock ’em down, steal the ball and keep them from gaining yards. Pittsburgh’s top-ranked defense got rolling in the second half, leading the Steelers to a 33-10 win on a cold and rainy Sunday, only their second victory in eight games against New England. The Steelers outscored the Patriots 23-0 in the second half when they had all five of their takeaways and four of their five sacks and gave up 81 yards to a team that had gained more than 500 in each of its two previous games. The Steelers got two scoring passes from Ben Roethlisberger and four field goals from Jeff Reed.

Pittsburgh hasn’t allowed more than 290 yards in any game this season and held New England to one conversion on 13 third-down plays. Harrison forced fumbles by Matt Cassel on his two sacks, which gave him 14 for the season. One led to Reed’s 20-yard field goal that made it 23-10. Troy Polamalu’s interception with 9:18 left led to Reed’s 40-yard field goal. Then Lawrence Timmons returned another interception 89 yards, setting up Gary Russell’s 1-yard touchdown run. Roethlisberger went 17-for-33 for 179 yards and one interception as the Steelers converted on 8-of-16 third downs and put up their third-highest scoring game of the season despite coming in ranked only 26th in yards gained.

Week #14 Match-ups and Predictions

Baltimore vs. Washington

·         Washington has scored 17 points or less in 5 of its last 7 games. They have won 4 straight road games. Santana Moss hasn’t caught a TD or broken 100 receiving yards since week #8.
 

·         Joe Flacco has 2 TD passes in 4 of his last 5 starts. Mark Clayton has caught 7 passes for 240 yards and 2 TD in his last 2 games. Willis McGahee has had 0 carries in 3 games in which he’s suited up this season.

ITH PREDICTION –    Baltimore   20     Washington   17

Cincinnati at Indianapolis

·        Peyton Manning has thrown for 845 yards, 7 TD and 0 INT in his last 3 home games. Indianapolis’ 5 game win streak is the NFL’s 2nd active longest. Seventeen of Indianapolis’ 19 sacks have come from Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney.

 

·        Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 38.7 percent of his passes last week versus Baltimore. Cincinnati has 1 win, 1 tie, and 2 losses in its last 4 games.

ITH PREDICTION –   Indianapolis   31     Cincinnati   13

Cleveland at Tennessee

·        Chris Johnson and LenDale White combined for 231 yards and 4 TD in week 13 versus Detroit. Tennessee QBs have thrown only 6 INT in 351 pass attempts this season. Albert Haynesworth is on pace for about 11 sacks, which would mark the first time in his career that he has notched double digit sacks.


 

·         Ken Dorsey’s last start came November 27, 2005 at Tennessee. D’Qwell Jackson leads the NFL with 115 tackles. Cleveland has won 3 straight versus Tennessee. 

ITH PREDICTION –   Tennessee   26      Cleveland   10

Pittsburgh vs. Dallas

·        This game features the participants of Super Bowls X, XIII and XXX. In 4 games where opponents have sacked Ben Roethlisberger more than 3 times, Pittsburgh is 2-2 and he had 6 INT and 1 TD. In the other 7 games, Pittsburgh has outscored opponents 215-118 and his TD-INT ratio is 12-6. Pittsburgh has outscored opponents 77-9 in the 3rd quarter this season. Pittsburgh held New England to 1 of 13 third down conversions in week #13. Pittsburgh is 8-1 versus AFC teams.


 

·        In 3 games since returning from injury, Tony Romo has completed 64 percent of passes with 7 TD and 3 INT and 870 yards. Dallas converted on all 4 red-zone chances versus Seattle and held them to 0 for 3 in the red zone. DeMarcus Ware and Bradie James combined for 5 of the Cowboys’ 7 sacks against Seattle.

ITH PREDICTION –   Pittsburgh     24      Dallas   13

Last Week Record:    2 – 1

Season to Date:     24 – 14

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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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