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AFC North Thursday: Bengals Getting Close to Clinching, Ravens Own Six Seed

December 5th, 2013 at 9:10 AM
By Josh Michael

It's time once again for AFC North Thursday and week 13 produced a typical inter-division matchup as well as the Cincinnati Bengals inching closer to clinching the division.

It was a 2-2 week for the AFC North as the Baltimore Ravens and Bengals emerged victorious, while the Steelers and Browns fell.

'M&T Bank Stadium' photo (c) 2006, Ethan Gruber - license:

We will start with the marquee matchup within the AFC North as the Ravens hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving Night in not only a rivalry matchup, but a crucial game in regards to the AFC Wildcard race. Baltimore emerged victorious with a 22-20 win and needed a big defensive stand on a potential game tying two point conversion attempt by Pittsburgh with just over a minute remaining in the game.

Baltimore went 1-4 in red zone opportunities, but thanks to Justin Tucker's leg and five field goals, they were able to score enough points to secure a much needed win. The Ravens now own the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC as they own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Miami Dolphins who are also 6-6. Although they have a one game lead, there are still four teams within a game of the Ravens, so the wildcard race is far from over.

Joe Flacco completed 24 of 35 pass attempts for 251 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions, while Torrey Smith led all receivers with six grabs for 93 yards and a touchdown.

The division leading Bengals inched one step closer to clinching as they took down the pesky San Diego Chargers 17-10 on sunny California. Cincinnati never trailed in the game and used a great defensive effort to pull out the road win. Andy Dalton struggled a bit completing 14 of 23 pass attempts for 190 yards, one touchdown and one interception, while AJ Green continued his fantastic season reeling in five grabs for 83 yards and a touchdown. Benjarvis Green-Ellis also had a nice game for the Bengals rushing for 92 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

Lastly we turn to the Cleveland Browns who saw their slim playoff hopes all but erased as they suffered an embarrassing home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars 32-28. The low scoring Jags put up 32 points on the Browns and even saw All Pro running back Maurice Jones-Drew throw, yes throw a touchdown in the game. The one bright spot for the Browns came courtesy of WR Josh Gordon who became the first player in NFL history with back-to-back 200+ yard receiving games as he reeled in 10 grabs for 261 yards and two touchdowns.

Week 14 will see all four teams in action against non-division opponents with three of the four AFC North teams playing in very important games. This week can result in a number of different scenarios from the Steelers all but being eliminated from playoff contention to the Bengals all of the sudden with just a one game lead over the Ravens with three to go, including a week 17 matchup with Baltimore.

AFC North Week 14 Schedule:

  • Baltimore Ravens (6-6) vs Minnesota Vikings (3-9) Sunday 1pm
  • Cincinnati Bengals (8-4) vs Indianapolis Colts (8-4) Sunday 1pm
  • Cleveland Browns (4-8) at New England Patriots (9-3) Sunday 1pm
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7) vs Miami Dolphins (6-6) Sunday 1pm


AFC North Standings


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Tags: AFC North, AFC Wildcard, Baltimore, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Football, Joe Flacco, Justin Tucker, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers

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