Week 14: AFC North
Arguably the best division in NFL Football this year is the AFC North. It is the only division in the NFL where every team has a winning record. Here are the AFC North Standings going into Sunday, December 7th.
On Sunday the battle for the AFC North Crown continues when the Bengals host the Steelers, the Browns host the Colts and the Ravens travel to face the Dolphins. It is time to review these games and choose potential victors.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The Bengals offense led by QB Andy Dalton has scored 22 points per game this season. Their defense has given up 21 points per game. The Steelers led by NFL receptions leader WR Antonio Brown have scored 27 points per game, but their not so legendary defense has given up 25, which is not charictoristic of a Steelers defense.
Conclusion: The Steelers have accumulated 416 yards per game on offense in 2014, which ranks them 3rd in the NFL. That offense exploded all over the Colts and Ravens just several games ago. The question is - which Steelers team will show up against the Bengals. The Steelers seem to play better against better teams and this may work in their favor on Sunday. The Bengals are good, but they are not great. Steelers RB Le'von Bell is a beast and should be able to find numerous holes in the Bengals defensive line. The Steelers need this win and I think they will win it by a FG.
Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins
The Ravens won the Super Bowl just a few years ago. Their aging defense has still shown moments of glory. Their offense led by QB Joe Flacco has put up 27 points per game, while their defense has given up 20. The Dolphins led by QB Ryan Tannahill have put up 25 points per game, while their defense has given up 19. The Dolphins defense only gives up 198 passing yards per game, which is 2nd in the NFL.
Conclusion: The Ravens need a win to keep up with the Steelers and the Browns. The Dolphins are in the hunt for the 5th or 6th seed in the playoffs. The Ravens have not been consistent this season, but then again neither have the Dolphins. The Dolphins barely beat a weak New York Jets team last week 16-13 in the closing minutes. The Ravens fell to San Diego and QB Philip Rivers last week in the closing minute. The Ravens cannot afford to lose so I am going to give them the edge in this one.
Indianapolis Colts @ Cleveland Browns
The Colts are on their way to another AFC South Crown with an 8-4 record going into Sunday. The Browns have been the latest version of the cardiac kids and have managed to stay alive in the AFC North with the Steelers and the Ravens. The Colts are led by QB Andrew Luck. Their offense has put up 32 points per game, which is 1st in the NFL. Their total offensive yards per game is also 1st in the NFL at 437 yards per game. They are also 1st in passing yards with 326 per game. Their defense has given up 24 points per game. The Browns will once again start QB Brian Hoyer. Their offense has scored 21 points per game and given up 20.
Conclusion: The Browns play with a lot of heart. It is hard not to feel good for this team that has never been to a Super Bowl, but the Colts are going to be hard to bring down on Sunday. I believe the Browns are talented and are getting better, but I also think the Colts offense will be to much for them this week. I like the Colts to hand the Browns a loss on Sunday.
The Final Word
The AFC North is still up for grabs. The Steelers play the Bengals this Sunday and then in the last game of the season. These games will be crucial for the Steelers if they want to make the playoffs. Every team in this division will play their hearts out in the final 4 games, but only one can win the AFC North Crown and the battle for the 5th or 6th seed is going to be fierce. It all comes down to who wants it the most. Until we meet again may your betting be better and remember to always be a good sport.