The AFC North had a good weekend, going 3-1 with the only loss being divisional. The Steelers beat the Ravens to keep their division title hopes alive, the Bengals went into San Diego and beat the Chargers to keep them squarely in the playoff picture, and the Browns won their second game in a row by beating the Raiders.
Several guys stand out when determining exactly why each team won their respective games and these guys get my game balls for the week.
Baltimore Ravens: Getting beat by your biggest rival and their 3rd string QB is humiliating, however, Anquan Boldin had a great game. Boldin tallied 5 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. The stats are not super overwhelming, but them coming against the best defense -- and the best pass defense -- in the NFL is impressive. With the lack of star quality receivers in Baltimore, Boldin needs to have more games like this if the Ravens want to be a factor in the playoffs.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers got a huge win this week. By beating the Ravens they kept their division title hopes alive. My game ball for the Steelers goes to none other than Charlie Batch. Batch didn’t light up the scoreboard, but he did post a 89.6 QB rating, which is more than good enough for a 3rd string quarterback. Batch gave the Steelers a chance to win, and they took it.
Cincinnati Bengals: For the fourth straight week the Bengals won their game, and for the 3rd straight week BenJarvus Green-Ellis takes home my game ball. Ellis took 25 handoffs and racked up 118 rushing yards against a good defense. Ellis has been the catalyst of this team and he has been doing an outstanding job of keeping pressure off of Andy Dalton and allowing the Bengals to succeed. Cincinnati could ride this horse all the way to the playoffs.
Cleveland Browns: The Browns have rattled off their second straight win and Brandon Weeden was impressive in Oakland. Weeden threw for a career high 364 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders. This season may be a lost cause for the Browns, but they are certainly showing that the future could be bright.