AFC North Afternoon Roundup

AFC North Afternoon Roundup
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Oh boy.


Controversy and ill-will seems to be a common theme after Steelers-Ravens tilts, but it’s generally directed at the other team.  Steelers fans are rightly miffed at head coach Mike Tomlin for his debatable decision to go for it on fourth down in overtime, and for his decision to run backup quarterback Michael Vick instead of handing the ball to all-pro running back Le’Veon Bell.  Prompting these decisions was the woeful performance of kicker Josh Scobee, who shanked two more makeable kicks wide right.  Six additional points would have sealed the win for the Steelers.


In the meantime, the Ravens escaped with a win on a night where little went as planned and subpar play seemed to be the norm.  While most fans are grateful for the win, it’s telling that few are endorsing them for a playoff run, which is indicative of the fact that the Ravens just aren’t very talented, and in the wake of their 1-3 start, flaws in their game planning have also been exposed.  With another divisional game looming, we’ll see if the Ravens can capitalize on their marginal success.


Baltimore Ravens


Wideout Marlon Brown caught two passes for 9 yards in a forgettable performance.


My Take:  If #1 wideout Steve Smith is forced to miss significant time, the pressure will be on Brown and fellow wideout Kamar Aiken to produce.  Aiken has shown flashes, but Brown has largely disappointed after a promising rookie campaign.  The odds of his improving aren’t good.


Cleveland Browns


Rookie running back Duke Johnson may be the answer to the Browns’ running game woes.


My Take:  As the article states, Johnson is versatile, which in today’s pass-happy NFL is almost a requirement.  Backs that can stay on the field for three downs are increasingly in demand, and there’s no reason Johnson can’t be one of them.


Cincinnati Bengals


Fans of upcoming opponent Kansas City Chiefs weigh in about the Bengals.


My Take:  Interesting that the majority of the comments are positive, although there remain doubters.  The most telling comment states that the combined record of the Bengals’ opponents so far is 3-6 – not exactly powerhouse teams.


Pittsburgh Steelers


The Sporting News talks with former defensive end Brett Keisel and gauges the chances of his return.


My Take:  Although it’s highly doubtful that the Steelers would consider bringing Keisel out of mothballs for a second consecutive year, his enthusiasm and love for the Steelers is obvious, and it forces one to wonder what he may have left.


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