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AFC North Week 10 Predictions

AFC North Week 10 Predictions
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Welcome to the AFC North predictions page!

Each week, one of our AFC North feature writers will list their picks for that week and be forced to explain why they voted as they did. Keep in mind that these picks are for entertainment purposes only, and in no way should be used to influence gambling or illegal activity, unless you’re smart enough to recognize that we know more than you because we publish things.

Cleveland Browns (5-3) @ Cincinnati Bengals (5-2-1)
November 6, 2014 8:30pm

It what has proven to be hard-fought, wacky, back and forth series for the better part of a decade, the Browns visit the Bengals on a Thursday night. The teams have split for the last four seasons, except in 2011(Bengals lead 5-3). The Bengals are looking to firmly reestablish themselves as a playoff threat, while the Browns try to prove non-believers they’re for real.

What to watch:

Browns’ divisional road woes: Playing on a short week certainly doesn’t help Cleveland’s odds of ending a five year streak of futility in divisional road games. Cleveland’s last road win against a divisional opponent did, however, come at Paul Brown Stadium in 2008. With Jordan Cameron (concussion) and Josh Gordon (the ganja) out, and Andrew Hawkins listed as a game-time decision (thigh/knee), Brian Hoyer will look to get Taylor Gabriel and Travis Benjamin more involved. Hoyer has been inaccurate, completing less than 58% of his passes, but has shown good ability as a downfield passer. With Cleveland’s run game still stalling, Hoyer will need to loosen up the Bengals’ front for the Browns to have a chance at ending their streak.

Bengals weathering the storm: Right tackle Andre Smith and running back Gio Bernard (hip) are both doubtful tonight, and cornerback Leon Hall is out (concussion). With wideout A.J. Green slowly coming back, and wideout Mohamed Sanu emerging as quarterback Andy Dalton’s favorite target in Green’s absence (32 targets in 3 games), the Bengals should be able to keep the passing game respectable. Going against a Browns defense that is ranked 30th against the run (140.3 yards/game), look for backup Jeremy Hill to get the bulk of the carries and wear down the Browns’ front late in the game.

Bottom line:

On a short week, on the road, against a team finding its stride, don’t look for the Browns to leave Cincinnati with a win. The Browns’ one dimensional offense and inability to stop the run will heir undoing late in the game. Bengals 23-20

Tennessee Titans (2-6) @ Baltimore Ravens (5-4)
November 9, 2014 1:00pm

After an embarrassing loss on the road in Pittsburgh, a home game against a Titans team in the middle of reshaping their offense is just what the doctor ordered.

What to watch:

No place like home: In the Ravens’ home wins this year, they have outscored opponents by more than 23 points a game, with Joe Flacco having a quarterback rating of 114. Look for Baltimore’s passing game to start quickly, with an ailing Justin Forsett and a fumble-happy Lorenzo Taliaferro.

Ravens’ secondary: Looking completely lost last week, the Ravens made some interesting moves to try and revamp their secondary. Lardarius Webb, Danny Gorrer and Tramain Jacobs round out the cornerback position, and will take on an inaccurate-looking Zach Mettenberger, who has Justin Hunter and little else in his arsenal. The Titans are coming off of a bye, and Mettenberger has shown a willingness to “chuck it deep,” so the Ravens shouldn’t take this game lightly, especially with such a tight division race.

Bottom line:

The Ravens continue their trend of looking like an elite team after wetting the bed a week earlier. Ravens 28-17

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) @ New York Jets (1-8)
November 9, 2014 1:00pm

Although the Steelers’ defense is missing some key pieces as they travel to New York to take on the Jets, the offense seems to have found its identity over the last few weeks, while the Jets continue to stumble. That being said,  in seasons past, this season being no exception, the Steelers have played down to their competition and lost games like this.

What to watch:

Steelers’ offense: Coming off of two prolific weeks, Ben Roethlisberger faces a depleted and ineffective Jets secondary. The Steelers found a way to incorporate LeVeon Bell into their high-flying offense against Indianapolis, and should be able to do the same this week. Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant (10 receptions, 5 TDs) and Marcus Wheaton will prove to be too much.

Steelers’ defense: Quarterback Michael Vick was efficient against Kansas City last week (21-28, 196 yards, 1 TD, 4 rushes, 18 yards) and will have another week of practice with Percy Harvin and Eric Decker. The Steelers are missing Troy Polamalu, Ryan Shazier and Shamarko Thomas, making Will Allen and Sean Spence starters. The Steelers’ front seven has generated plenty of pressure lately, and must shut down the Jets’ efficient run game and wrap Vick up. If he has time, Vick can either scramble or find Harvin or Decker,making it a long day for a beaten up defense.

Bottom line:

With how well the Steelers’ offense is playing, and how inconsistently the Jets are playing in general, this game shouldn’t be close. The Jets may connect on a couple of long plays, but the Steelers will control this game. Steelers 34-17

Author’s picks:

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Writer Game Score
Ravenous128 Browns @ Bengals Bengals, 24-21
Titans @ Ravens Ravens, 24-17
Steelers @ Jets Steelers 34-13
Peatwo (11-3) Browns @ Bengals Bengals, 24-23
Titans @ Ravens Ravens, 31-17
Steelers @ Jets Steelers, 27-24
DOOOMMEEEEDD Browns @ Bengals Bengals, 23-20
Titans @ Ravens Ravens, 31-17
Steelers @ Jets Steelers, 34-17
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