AFC North Week 12 Preview

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2)

The Steelers are flying high coming off of another impressive win, this time at the expense of the Tennessee Titans last Thursday night. Ever since Ben Roethlisberger questioned how much he has left in the tank, the Steelers have become a different team. Along with their explosive playmakers, they have developed a grit and a swagger about them that is becoming of a Super Bowl contender.

This week the Steelers will take on the Aaron Rodger-less Green Bay Packers at home on Sunday night. Green Bay got shellacked last weekend by the Baltimore Ravens with Brett Hundley struggling mightily behind center. However, breakout rookie receiver Juju Smith-Schuster is dealing with a hamstring injury and may not play which could hinder Pittsburgh’s passing attack to an extent. Even if Smith-Schuster can’t play, I can’t see the Steelers losing this game.

Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

Last week we wanted to see if Baltimore could turn itself into a playoff team. We got that to an extent but we still have a ton of questions. Beating Green Bay in Green Bay would have sounded like an amazing feat coming into the season but with Rodgers on the shelf, it loses a lot of luster. As usual, Baltimore’s defense looked strong in forcing Brett Hundley into a plethora of mistakes which Joe Flacco used to put points on the board. This week, Baltimore is taking center stage on Monday Night Football to take on the Houston Texans.

Baltimore is again taking on a team who lost their star quarterback to a season ending injury so Baltimore really needs to advantage of this good fortune. Want some more good news for the Ravens? Speedy Texans receiver Will Fuller IV is dealing with cracked ribs and is barely practicing this week. Bad news:  It’ll be interesting to see if Breshad Perriman suits up again for the Ravens this season after he was a healthy scratch this week. Maybe it’s best to just cut your losses on the former first round pick.

Cincinnati Bengals (4-6) vs Cleveland Browns (0-10)

I’m not sure if last week was more about the Bengals winning or the Broncos losing. Cincy looked great on defense but that was overshadowed by an ejection of controversial linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Andy Dalton and the offense moved the ball well on the vaunted Denver defense which should give hope to the Bengals faithful. Surprisingly, rookie first round pick John Ross was a healthy scratch last week so we’ll see if that has any carry over.

Cleveland is Cleveland and I’m not really sure what else there is to say. The players are playing hard but mental gaffes and inopportune mistakes continue to haunt the Dog Pound. Somehow Cleveland still has a chance to make the playoffs but I can’t think of anything that would shock me more. As I said before, at this point of the season, we should all be rooting for the Browns to get a win. It’s possible that they beat their cross-state rivals, however it’s very unlikely.

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