AFC North and NFL Roundup: Week of Nov. 14-18

We’ll round up the biggest stories from AFC North enemy territory each day. We’ll also bring you any NFL national news and updates on former Ravens, if there’s something to pass along.

Posted by BR.com on Friday, November 18th, 2011 at 9:05 am | Categories: AFC North, AFC North Roundup

We’ll round up the biggest stories from AFC North enemy territory each day. We’ll also bring you any NFL national news and updates on former Ravens, if there’s something to pass along.

Friday, Nov. 18

BengalsCaldwell Could Start Sunday
With rookie wide receiver A.J. Green on the mend after a knee injury last weekend, Cincinnati receiver Andre Caldwell could get the start on Sunday. Some of his best games of his career have come against the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

SteelersFast Starts Key To Steelers Recent Success
The Steelers have scored on their opening drives in five of the last six games, which has been critical to their recent success. The one game where the Steelers failed to score on their opening drive was against the Ravens, who have not allowed an opponent to score on their first drive all season. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

BrownsBrowns Looking For Consitency From Taylor
Cleveland’s first-round pick Phil Taylor had one of his best games of his young career last week against the St. Louis Rams, and the Browns are hoping for more of those efforts from their young defensive tackle, who has been inconsistent this season. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

NFLTebow Does It Again
Denver quarterback Tim Tebow led the Broncos on another fourth-quarter comeback, this time on Thursday Night Football against the New York Jets. Tebow’s 20-yard run with 50 seconds left gave the Broncos the 17-13 victory. [SI.com]

Thursday, Nov. 17

BengalsBengals Move On Without Hall
The Bengals lost their veteran cornerback Leon Hall for the season after he tore his achilles tendon last weekend against the Steelers. Hall has been a staple for the Bengals defense over the last five years, and now they are forced to move on to other options in the secondary. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

SteelersSteelers Hoping For Cincinnati Victory
With the Ravens holding the tiebreaker advantage over the Steelers, Pittsburgh has to count to other teams to beat the Ravens this season.  With the Steelers on a bye this weekend, their hope is that Cincinnati is able to win in Baltimore, leaving the Steelers at the top of the AFC North with the tie-breaker over  Cincinnati. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

BrownsSafety Ward Expected To Return This Season
Second-year safety T.J. Ward is expected to play again this season after suffering an injury to his right foot. The injury kept Ward out of last week’s game and he will also miss Sunday’s game against Jacksonville. [Akron Beacon Journal]

NFLNFL Announces Deal With Microsoft
The NFL announced a multi-year sponsorship that makes Xbox 360 the official console sponsor of the league. [@DarrenRovell]

NFLTomlinson Out, McGahee Questionable Tonight
LaDainian Tomlinson will miss tonight’s game against the Broncos because of an MCL sprain, which he suffered last weekend against New England. For the Broncos, running back Willis McGahee is questionable to play in tonight’s game. [NFL.com]

Wednesday, Nov. 16

BengalsBengals Face Red Zone Challenge
The Bengals are coming off a game where they scored just one touchdown on the Pittsburgh Steelers from inside the Steelers’ red zone. Cincinnati is facing another stingy red zone defense this weekend in the Ravens, which is one of the league’s best teams at holding opponents to field goals from inside the red zone.  [Cincinnati Enquirer]

SteelersRoethlisberger Has Broken Thumb
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a fracture in his right thumb, but he insisted that it will not keep him out of the Steelers game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 27. The Steelers are on a bye this week, so he has extra time to rest it. This is the second time in this career that Roethlisberger has suffered a broken thumb on his throwing hand. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

BrownsFan’s Frustration Fueled By Offensive Expectations
The Cleveland Browns are once again one of the worst offensive teams in the NFL, which has led to discontent among the Cleveland faithful. The frustration, according to Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto, is rooted in the fact that fans expected more offensive firepower this season with the arrival of offensive-minded coach Pat Shurmur. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

NFLRevis Worried About Boredom Against Tebow
The New York Jets star cornerback said that he is concerned about getting bored in Thursday night’s game against the Denver Broncos and their run-heavy offense. “We can’t fall asleep back there in the secondary,” Revis said. “It can get boring, especially when a team just keeps running the ball, series after series, play after play.” [ ESPN.com]

Tuesday, Nov. 15

BengalsInjury Ends Hall’s Season, Creates Hole In Secondary
Cincinnati’s starting cornerback Leon Hall is done for the season after rupturing his Achilles tendon in Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh. Hall had played in 74 straight games, starting 66 of them, since coming into the league five years ago, and was one of the Bengals’ top players. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

SteelersWard’s Role In Offense Diminishing
Pittsburgh’s longtime wide receiver Hines Ward is facing a much smaller role in the Steelers’ offense than he has been accustomed to over the last several years. Ward was used sparingly in Sunday’s win over Cincinnati, and caught just one pass for 10 yards, which was the only time Ben Roethlisberger threw his way. 
[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

BrownsShumur Defends Conservative Play Calls
Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmur defended his conservative play-calling on his team’s final drive of Sunday’s 13-12 loss to the St. Louis Rams. Shurmur played the set up the short field goal, which kicker Phil Dawson missed from 22 yards after the snap bounced before getting to the holder. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

NFLPackers Roll Vikings, Stay Perfect
The Green Bay Packers had little trouble in their Monday Night Football showdown with rival Minnesota, taking down the Vikings 45-7. The win moves the Packers to 9-0, and heats up the conversation about a perfect season. Packers quarter Aaron Rodgers, who is putting up historic numbers this year, added four more touchdown passes to his season total. [Associated Press/ ESPN.com]

Monday, Nov. 14

BengalsLate Rally Falls Short Against Steelers
Cincinnati hung tight with Pittsburgh all the way to the finish in Sunday’s game, giving some validity to the argument that they are a legitimate contender in the AFC North. The Bengals late rally ended up falling short after a pair of Andy Dalton interceptions, but now the Bengals will be coming into this week’s game looking for a chance to get back on top of the division. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

SteelersSteelers Reclaim First Place With Win Over Cincinnati
Pittsburgh rebounded from the loss to the Ravens and went on the road to beat a 6-2 Cincinnati team. The Steelers cornerback William Gay, who was beat on the final play against Baltimore, came up with a big interception to seal the game for the Steelers. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

BrownsBrowns Miss Late Field Goal, Lose To Rams
Browns kicker Phil Dawson missed a 22-yard field goal near the end of yesterday’s game, which would have given the Browns a 2-point lead. A bad snap on the play got Dawson out of rhythm, and he ended up pulling the kick, sealing a 13-12 defeat to the Rams, which had won just one game coming into Sunday. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

NFLPatriots Dominate Jets On Sunday Night Football
Tom Brady led  the New England Patriots to a commanding 37-16 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday Night Football, proving that New England is still one of the premier contenders in the AFC. The Patriots avoided their first three-game losing streak since 2002, and put themselves in good position for the AFC East crown. [SI.com]

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