AFC North Breakdown – Week 12


Week 12 of the 2008 NFL regular season was all about expectations. The Baltimore Ravens exceeded them on offense and defense, the Cleveland Browns failed to meet them, the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers met them just as we thought they would.

Expect greatness in the AFC North breakdown.

Baltimore Ravens (7-4):

Looking Back: You would have expected a defensive battle between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Baltimore Ravens, and for a while, that’s exactly what we got. But then Andy Reid got the bright idea that Donovan McNabb wasn’t good enough to start the second half, and a six-pack of whoop-ass got opened up on the Eagles.

Ed Reed gets another touchdown return record, the Eagles get embarrassing media coverage, and all is well in Baltimore.

Looking Forward: The Ravens draw the hapless Bengals next week. A nice little tune-up for the Redskins this one should be.

Cincinnati Bengals (1-9-1):

Looking Back:  No Ocho Cinco, definitely a problem. The first quarter was as close as the Bengals got to looking like a formidable team, until the Steelers looked around and realized that they indeed were the Pittsburgh Steelers. That realization alone was good for at least 10 points.

Looking Forward: They are at home against Baltimore in a game that might be a little closer than people expect. And by closer, I mean that the Bengals will actually come to the stadium.

Cleveland Browns (4-7):

Looking Back: We witnessed the shuffling of Browns quarterbacks and plenty of interceptions, but Brady Quinn will keep his job and the Browns will likely continue their downward spiral.

Looking Forward: The Browns catch the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday, and they are catching them on quite the hot streak. Look forward to a passing attack for the ages out of both teams.

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3):

Looking Back: They convincingly beat the Cincinnati Bengals, so the real question becomes how long they can hold off the Ravens in the AFC North. This game can be misleading, because the Steeler run game has not been as pounding against quality opponents in several weeks.

Looking Forward: Pittsburgh at New England this Sunday, and the Steelers have the opportunity to diminish the Patriots’ wild card chances against the fast-rising Matt Cassel. Nothing gets easier beyond that game.