This is an important week for everyone in the AFC North. Check out each team's key to victory below.
Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens head to Cleveland this week to take on the struggling Browns. They key to success for the Ravens will be stopping the run. Normally this isn’t a problem for a Baltimore defense, but this year they rank 3rd to last in rush defense giving up 142 yards per game. Right now, Trent Richardson is about the only offense that Cleveland has, and if the Ravens can force Brandon Weeden to throw the ball 35 times or more, they will win comfortably.
Pittsburgh Steelers: If Hurricane Sandy’s destruction doesn’t cause a delay, the Steelers will face off with the Giants in the new Meadowlands. The key to success for the Steelers is their pass rush. Eli Manning likes to throw the ball all over the field, resulting in a lot of interceptions, but a lot of touchdowns as well. The Steelers have as good of a secondary as anyone, but Eli can pick apart anyone if he is given enough time. If the Steelers can get some pressure with those big 3-4 outside linebackers they will force some interceptions. If they force two or three interceptions, they’ll win this game.
Cincinnati Bengals: Peyton Manning brings the Broncos and their high powered offense to Cincinnati to play the Bengals on Sunday. The key to success for the Bengals is going to be their passing game. If they have any chance of knocking off the streaking Broncos they will have to beat them in a shootout. This defense is not going to hold Peyton under 28 points. Andy Dalton and his receiving crew are going to need a huge game and go blow for blow with one of the best of all time if they want to win this week.
Cleveland Browns: The Ravens come into town and it’s going to be a tough matchup for the Browns. The key to success for Cleveland this week is big plays. They are going to be able to run the ball on Baltimore. But the Ravens are also going to be able to move the ball methodically as well. If the Browns can get one or two big plays they could very well win this game. A long pass, a great return, or a defensive touchdown could all be the difference maker in a game that I think may be closer than what the statistics would have you believe.