AFC North Week 9 Predictions

AFC North Week 9 Predictions
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Chirping should start again in this old school rivalry as the games have actually meant something recently.
Welcome to the AFC North predictions page!
Each week, 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.
Week 9 AFC North games:
Cleveland Browns (2-6) @ Cincinnati Bengals (7-0), Thursday 8:25pm NFL Network, CBS
Oakland Raiders (4-3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4), Sunday 1pm CBS
Steelers/Raiders is the surprising game of the week with the resurgence of the Raiders. The match up has major playoff implications, especially for the Steelers who are playing at home and have the more difficult schedule moving forward. There are plenty of story lines in the Bengals/Browns game as well, but not enough to take the top spot.
Last week, The AFC North writers were once again bro-hugging with their 2nd 8-4 record in a row, with three of those losses coming at the hands of a Ravens victory. This week they will either be 6-2 or 2-6 based on tonight’s outcome.
On to the games:
Jack Crawford (record 16-11):
Browns 17, Bengals 28
Johnny Manziel at quarterback or no, there’s just too much of a talent disparity between these teams. Barring an epic underachievement, the Bengals should win this early by simply putting consistent pressure on Manziel and limiting Cleveland’s running attempts.
Raiders 28, Steelers 24
Recent history holds true again, as the Raiders and wunderkind rookie wideout Amari Cooper take advantage of the Steelers’ secondary. The Steelers are also facing life without injured running back Le’Veon Bell, which will limit their opportunities in the short passing game.
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Paul Johansson (record 16-11):
Browns 16, Bengals 31
This exact match up occurred at almost the exact same time last season (one year ago tomorrow) when the Bengals were embarrassed by the Browns at home in front of a national Thursday night audience. Similar to last season, the Bengals are coming of a lackluster performance just four days prior. The difference this year is that the Bengals haven’t let mistakes dictate how they finish games, whether its the defense stepping up, or Dalton shaking it off. Add an erratic Johnny Manziel to the mix and a Browns defense that is 4th worst in points allowed, and it should be a convincing Bengals win this time.
Raiders 24, Steelers 23
The Raiders have put up 135 points in their four wins including 71 while going 2-0 post bye-week. The Steelers on the other hand are out-of-sync on offense, and their defense has kept them afloat. They gain another week of practice for Big Ben, but lose their dynamic running back. If they can hold the Raiders to field goals, they have a shot, but it will be tough to overcome the Raiders momentum and new-found confidence. The Steelers were one win shy of the playoffs in 2013 with an assist to the Raiders, and a loss on Sunday could tell a similar story by season’s end.
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Michael Thompson (record 15-12):
Browns 10, Bengals 28
Manziel’s return to the field coincides with a return to not being able to move the football consistently, punctuate by one or two exciting long passes. That isn’t the type of offense that can beat a balanced Bengals team that will be able to move the ball at will against the Browns defense.
Raiders 24, Steelers 27
Roethlisberger does enough to keep the Steelers in the playoff picture against one of their main wild card rivals, despite a strong performance by the Raiders’ Derek Carr. Steelers defense gives up a lot of yards, but keeps the scoring down for another week.
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Wernike Korsakoff (record 11-16):

Browns 13, Bengals 24
Under backup QB Johnny Manziel’s direction so far this season, the Browns’ haven’t gotten into a rhythm. Don’t expect that to change tonight, on the road, against the hot Bengals. Coupled with a crumbling defense, the Browns should make this primetime, divisional game a fairly easy win for the Bengals.
Raiders 27, Steelers 31
Look for a slow start from the Raiders turn into a comeback bid. Backup RB DeAngelo Williams has filled in nicely for Le’Veon Bell, but the Steelers need QB Ben Roethlisberger to return to form against a young and suddenly competent Raiders team led by QB Derek Carr and standout rookie WR Amari Cooper. The Steelers will need a strong performance from their front seven to help their ailing secondary.
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“League Sources” (3-4):
Still drying out from his trip to Austin

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