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AFC North Week 6 Predictions

AFC North Week 6 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.

Baltimore Ravens @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
October 12, 2014 1:00pm

With the AFC North race wide open, the Ravens travel to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers. This is the type of game a playoff team wins.

What to watch:

Ravens boo boos: Chris Canty and Asa Jackson joined the ailing Ravens club this week, further depleting defensive line and defensive back depth. Terrell Suggs has been hobbling around and has been largely ineffective. With Eugene Monroe expected to miss another game, the Ravens need to scheme better to help undrafted rookie, James Hurst protect Flacco better than last week, when he faced heavy pressure.

Buccaneers’ resiliency: Under quarterback Mike Glennon, the Bucs believe they have a chance in every game. They have talent at the skill positions with Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, and Bobby Rainey, and seem to rally around their QB. The Ravens need to get out to a quick start to ensure Tampa Bay doesn’t get that spark.

Bottom line:

The Ravens can’t afford one of their patented slow starts on the road. A steady dose of the run game will help them get on track. Ravens, 26-17

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns
October 12, 2014 1:00pm

Steelers-Browns games have been little more than a formality in recent years, but this year is different. Not only are both teams trying to keep pace in the divisional race, but both teams, traditionally defined by strong defenses, are struggling mightily in that department. The offenses are the bright spots this year for both teams, with the game plans centered on the run game.

What to watch:

Steelers’ offense: Antonio Brown has always had Cleveland’s number, and with Joe Haden missing another practice yesterday, it only looks to get weaker. Brown will get plenty of looks, as will Heath Miller. Le’Veon Bell will shoulder a heavy workload, with more run plays inside the red zone.

Browns’ offense: The Browns have a steady manager in Brian Hoyer, who rallied the Browns from a 25 point first-half deficit last week. Tate, Crowell and West will open up the passing game for Benjamin, Austin, Hawkins and possibly Jordan Cameron. The Browns can’t continue to start playing in the second half, as they fell three points short to the Steelers in Week One.

Bottom line:

This will be a high scoring game with the last man standing being the Browns, 33-30.

Carolina Panthers @ Cincinnati Bengals
October 12, 2014 1:00pm

After being embarrassed y the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football, the Bengals return home to host the NFC South leading Carolina Panthers. Carolina’s defense has’t played well lately, but they were able defeat the inconsistent Chicago Bears at home last weekend. The Bengals need to win this game to regain some confidence and stay atop the open AFC North race.

What to watch:

Bengals’ defense: What looked to be a consistently suffocating defense was exposed in all facets against New England. The Bengals need to pressure Cam Newton, who is still ailing (ankle, ribs) and take away the Panthers’ lone healthy star, WR Kelvin Benjamin. With Carolina’s run game still a question mark, it shouldn’t be difficult.

Dalton, Dalton, Dalton: Questions were raised yet again this week, after Dalton and his offense were hapless against the Patriots. Dalton didn’t have a statistically bad game (15/24, 2 TDs, 0 INTs), but the offense was out of the game within the first 10 minutes. AJ Green is out and Tyler Eifert may also be out, limiting Dalton’s weapons. Expect Gio Bernard to get plenty of reps.

Bottom line:

Even with limited offensive weapons, Dalton and the offense should do just enough to get the win. The defense will rebound at home and will be the MVP. Bengals, 24-17

Author’s picks:

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Writer Game Score
Ravenous128 Ravens @ Buccaneers
Steelers @ Browns  6<8
Panthers @ Bengals
Peatwo (11-3) Ravens @ Buccaneers Ravens, 24-20
Steelers @ Browns Browns, 27-23
Panthers @ Bengals Bengals, 24-17
DOOOMMEEEEDD Ravens @ Buccaneers Ravens, 26-17
Steelers @ Browns Browns, 33-30
Panthers @ Bengals Bengals, 24-17
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