AFC NORTH: Week 17

Street Talk AFC NORTH: Week 17

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Quotes of note from week #16 in the AFC North:


"I guess it wasn’t a homecoming," said Ravens running back Willis McGahee in a reference to the Cowboys allegedly requesting the Ravens be their opponent for the historic game that will close down Texas stadium. "It was a mock funeral. We spoiled their day."


"When I came in here they thought they were kind of the worst defense in the history of football. Now I think they think they’re OK. A shutout is a shutout and they’re hard to come by in the NFL." – Bengals Defensive Coordinator Greg Zimmer after his unit shutout the Cleveland Browns.


"Jamal Lewis getting 10,000 yards is a really big deal," Browns running back Jason Wright said. "It’s the kind of stuff where you’re being mentioned in the same breath with guys who are in the (Pro Football) Hall of Fame, and he’s had a career that’s certainly been deserving of that – of Hall of Fame consideration.”


“The story of the game for us is missed opportunities,” said Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin. “When you don’t take care of the football versus good people in a hostile environment it bites you. They made significant plays in third down situations, in fourth down situations. It was a good game by them and below the line by us. When that happens the score looks the way it looks.”



AFC North


























Lost 1













Won 1













Lost 5













Won 2



Week #16 Scores in the AFC North

Baltimore      33             Dallas          24

Cincinnati      14            Cleveland       0        

Tennessee     31            Pittsburgh     14


Baltimore Ravens

Matt Stover who sold programs outside the stadium as a kid growing up in the area, kicked four field goals to wipe out an early deficit, then Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain ripped off long, record runs each time the Cowboys got close in the final minutes, sending Baltimore to a 33-24 victory on Saturday night and a step closer to the playoffs. McGahee broke through a line bunched up to stop the run and ran 77 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest of his career and it tied the longest ever by an opponent at Texas Stadium. McClain broke that record on the Ravens’ next snap, going 82 yards for the longest touchdown of his career. "We wanted to be party crashers," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "I hope they enjoyed their little ceremony. I guess we were kind of like the dynamite." In addition to the homecoming theme, the Ravens also were motivated by Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett opting to remain with the Cowboys after interviewing to become Baltimore’s coach last off season. "I wonder what team he wishes he was coaching tonight?" Suggs said. Baltimore went up 16-7 on Stover’s kicks and a touchdown catch by Derrick Mason, who kept playing despite leaving twice with an aggravation of a dislocated left shoulder. Joe Flacco was 17-of-25 for 149 yards and was sacked five times. McClain finished with 22 carries for 139 yards and McGahee had eight carries for 108 yards. Dallas had given up only about 100 yards rushing until the victory-sealing runs.


Cincinnati Bengals

Cedric Benson rushed for a career-high 171 yards on 38 carries, and cornerback Leon Hall returned one of his three interceptions 50 yards for a touchdown as the Cincinnati Bengals got their first road win this season, 14-0 over the hapless Browns. After losing their first eight games, the Bengals (3-11-1) have won two straight for the first time since closing the 2007 season with back-to-back victories. It was their first road win since beating the Miami Dolphins in the ’07 finale, and the shutout was Cincinnati’s first since blanking the Browns 30-0 on Nov. 26, 2006. The Bengals didn’t have to do much more than hand the ball off to Benson, who found plenty of room against the Browns’ over-pursuing defense. Bengals quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick completed only five passes, but one was a 20-yard touchdown to Chris Henry in the second quarter. "I read the quarterback’s eyes," said Hall, who came into the game without an interception this season. "I read the receiver, and I jumped the route. It felt good to take it all the way." Hall’s three interceptions tied a franchise single-game record. Cincinnati leads the "Battle of Ohio" 36-35. Bengals WR Chad Johnson didn’t play because of a hamstring injury. Bengals OT Stacy Andrews was helped to the locker room with an injured right knee in the fourth quarter.


Cleveland Browns

Frozen trash danced in the icy wind at one end of near-empty Browns Stadium as the last seconds disappeared from the clock. There was nothing to celebrate, nothing to look forward to. Nothing but silence. On a bone-chilling Sunday, a season of high hopes hit new depths for the Browns. "Worst season I’ve ever played in," running back Jamal Lewis said. Cleveland, meanwhile, hasn’t scored an offensive touchdown in five games. Ravaged by injuries since training camp, Cleveland has lost five straight games and seven of its last eight. The offense hasn’t visited the end zone since running back Jerome Harrison’s 73-yard TD run on Nov. 17 at Buffalo — nearly 21 quarters ago. Cleveland didn’t score a touchdown in its final three home games. The lone bright spot for the Browns was Lewis, who became the 24th player in NFL history to rush for 10,000 career yards. Lewis came in needing 63 yards and went over the milestone on an 8-yard burst in the third quarter. He finished with 76 yards on 16 carries, but after the game, he didn’t have any desire to celebrate. "It’s a great accomplishment, and I’m happy to be here, but at the same time, it would have felt even better if we would have had a winning season," Lewis said. "The record is the least of my concerns. It’s been a disappointing season." The Browns finished the home portion of their schedule by being booed off the field by the few hearty fans who braved subzero wind chills. Cleveland went 1-7 at home, one season after going a franchise-best 7-1 on the banks of Lake Erie.


Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin denied that his team was flat after a tough stretch in its third road game in the last four weeks. With Ben Roethlisberger trying to come up with more of his late-game magic, Titans DB Michael Griffin ended the Steelers’ latest comeback try by intercepting another one of the quarterback’s passes. Griffin ran back across the field and up the left sideline for an 83-yard touchdown return with 16 seconds left. Roethlisberger’s first turnover hurt the most, coming at the Titans’ 1-yard line in the first quarter as he was about to score. "I don’t know how damaging (it was)," Roethlisberger said. "It’s hard to say. Any time you get there and take that crowd out of it, I mean, we were going to score some kind of points. Maybe their crowd gets out of it.” Trailing 10-0, Roethlisberger answered by driving the Steelers to two touchdowns. He tossed the 100th TD pass of his career, this one to Santonio Holmes, in the second quarter. Roethlisberger was 3-of-3 passing for 62 yards in the third quarter, when he capped a four-play drive with a 21-yard TD pass to Hines Ward and a 14-10 lead, Pittsburgh’s first of the game. However, 2 lost fumbles and 2 interceptions by the Steelers fueled the Titans victory. LB James Harrison recorded his 16th sack of the season, setting a Pittsburgh record, after hurting his right hip in the first quarter. RB Willie Parker and Mewelde Moore combined for a mere 57 yards on 21 carries.


Week #17 Match-ups and Predictions

Baltimore vs. Jacksonville
Maurice Jones-Drew has 232 yards from scrimmage in his 2 starts. Jacksonville doesn’t have a player with 5 sacks. The Jaguars signed 3 offensive linemen to the active roster on Monday to participate against the Ravens.

Ed Reed has 6 interceptions in the last 5 games. Baltimore has scored 30 points in 5 of its last 8 games. Joe Flacco hasn’t exceeded 150 passing yards the last 3 games.


ITH PREDICTION –    Baltimore   33     Jacksonville   13


Cincinnati vs. Kansas City

Tony Gonzales needs 9 catches for 100 for the season. KC is surrendering 155.9 rush yards per game.

Cedric Benson has 332 total yards in his last two games. Cincinnati attempted only 9 passes last week. TJ Houshmandzadeh didn’t catch a pass last week, the first time that had happened in 69 games.


ITH PREDICTION –   Cincinnati   27     Kansas City   17


Cleveland at Pittsburgh

Cleveland has not scored since Week 11, a span of 314 minutes and 47 seconds. Braylon Edwards has caught 32 passes for 450 yards and 1 TD on the road this season.


Willie Parker has rushed for at least 105 yards in 5 of 6 career starts versus Cleveland. Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked 3 times or more in 9 of 15 starts this season. Hines Ward has caught 15 passes for 216 yards and 1 TD the last two weeks.


ITH PREDICTION –     Pittsburgh   30     Cleveland   0


Last Week Record:   0 – 3   

Season to Date:     30 – 18

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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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