AFC North Week 7 Recap

AFC North Week 7 Recap
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The Kiper Big Board watch will be starting early for at least half of the AFC North this year
Cleveland Browns @ St. Louis Rams
You can read the detailed recap here. The Browns lackluster performance was in part due to a suffocating Rams defense and the bruising running style of Todd Gurley who amassed an amazing 97 yards after contact. The result was the Browns 5th loss in their first seven games.
Next up, the Browns host a Cardinals team traveling on a short week, facing their 3rd straight AFC North challenge.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs

The Steelers continue a 4-year trend of losing to bad teams, a trend that has drastically affected their playoff positioning. Yesterday it was the struggling Chiefs. Sure Pittsburgh was forced to play a 3rd string unproven quarterback, but they were also up against a Chiefs offense with very little punch. In 2012 the Raiders, Titans, and Browns hurt the Steelers. In 2013 it was the Raiders and Vikings, and last year the the Steelers lost to the Jets and Buccaneers who had a combined 4 wins other than their victories against Pittsburgh.
Turnovers were the key to losing this one, all directly related to Landry Jones (2 INTs, 1 fumble). Although KC only converted one turnover into points, it certainly kept the Steelers from gaining momentum. The Steelers also missed another 4th and short (in the first half), which likely would have resulted in points if successful.
With a healthy Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers could have been breathing down the Bengals neck for the division lead, so there is plenty of hope for the rest of the season as long as Big Ben stays on the field. Their stars shined in this one (Bell: 17 carries 121 yards; Brown: 6 catches 124 yards), but didn’t get much support from the rest of the cast, especially in the running game. The Steelers are still in the playoff driver’s seat as only five teams TOTAL in the AFC have more than three wins.
Next up for the Steelers is a huge divisional game as they welcome the undefeated and rested Bengals. Its not a must win for Pittsburgh, but they can only afford a couple more losses if they fall to Cincinatti.
Baltimore Ravens @ Arizona Cardinals

The Ravens have exited “must win” games and have entered “when is the draft?” The loss Monday night essentially eliminated the team from contention. Even though optimists have pointed out that they are only three games out of the 6-seed with a head-to-head win against the current 6-seed, they also have to jump over THE NINE OTHER TEAMS who are not currently one of the top six seeds. Yes, Ravens fans, your season is officially over, and spring training is still four months away.
The fact is, The Ravens may be living in the cellar for the entire 2015 season. They were stuck with “Owen” until week four, and they now have to deal with squatter “Juan Wynn”, who seems to be making himself very comfortable…
The Ravens once again did just enough not to win the game. In a contest that was not exactly a showcase for the NFL, marred by interesting calls and non calls by both coaches and refs, and included a timely headset outage, the game ended appropriately enough with a savvy veteran-like push-off by 23-year old cornerback Tony Jefferson to position himself for a game winning interception. It was actually a tremendous play, and one that the Ravens group of cornerbacks would certainly have been penalized by taking an overly aggressive route.
The Ravens fought until the clock struck zero. It doesn’t mean they necessarily fought productively, but despite all of the negatives, they had the ball with a chance to tie in the final seconds.
Next up, the Ravens host the Chargers, in a game where the offense will have to put up 30 to stay competitive with Philip Rivers, who leads the NFL in passing yards and is second with 15 TDs.

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