AFC North Breakdown – Week 11


(Jarrett Carter writes for The Ebony Bird, which is FSB’s Ravens blog. Representing the rest of the AFC North are Dawg Pound Daily, Nice Pick Cowher and Stripe Hype.)

Week 11 of the 2008 NFL regular season was all about fear. The Baltimore Ravens defense ran up against a scary-looking Giants running game, the Cleveland Browns showed up and played a close Monday nighter against the Buffalo Bills, the Cincinnati Bengals were to scared to lose…or win, and the Pittsburgh Steelers should be scared of referees.

But fear not, its just the AFC North breakdown.

Baltimore Ravens (6-4):

Looking Back: In the Ravens first game against an actual Super Bowl contender, the Ravens looked the part of a Super Bowl pretender. The defense couldn’t stop three backs from chewing up more than 40 yards a piece, and conversely, Joe Flacco was the Ravens’ leading rusher.

That may be cute when you are playing the Bengals in a season-opener, but not in Week 11 against the defending Super Bowl champs.

Looking Forward: The Ravens draw the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday, who played to a tie against the Cincinnati Bengals last week. Nothing easy, nothing guaranteed, but certainly possible for the Ravens to pull out at home.

Cincinnati Bengals (1-8-1):

Looking Back:  Three weeks straight without a loss for the Cincinnati Bengals! Marvin Lewis has this ship pointed in the right direction, doesn’t he? Last time we saw a tie, it was the beginning of the media’s scrutiny of Michael Vick’s quarterbacking skills.

Looking Forward: The Bengals draw the Steelers in the Thursday night phantom game, and probably will have that non-losing streak snapped on the road in Steel City.

Cleveland Browns (4-6):

Looking Back: With a little more than seven minutes remaining in the Monday night game, Browns head coach threw his first challenge flag on the season for a Bills interception. He won the challenge, and then the Browns went out and got Brady Quinn his first career victory.

Looking Forward: Jamal Lewis accused his team of quitting a few weeks back, but considering he can only run for three yards before falling, and Braylon Edwards is an adventure on any given pass thrown his way, I would say its more of them not being that good than being quitters. They have the Texans at home next week, and will have a great chance to quit honorably instead of just being losers.

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3):

Looking Back: It could’ve been a score for a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Diego Padres, but the Steelers will take 11-10 any day over anybody. Bettors don’t feel the same way, but in the long and short of their place in the AFC, the Steelers still look like the team to beat.

Looking Forward: I don’t know, man…these Bengals are so hot right now. The Steelers, who look decreasingly lethargic on offense in the last few weeks, might just have their hands full with the precocious cats.