The Ultimate Battle for the AFC North Crown

The Ravens offense is looking for the Ray Rice of last year to return

While it is relatively early in the season, it is starting to look like the AFC North is shaping up to be two team battle between Pittsburgh and Baltimore. The Steelers sit atop the division (5-1) and the Ravens (5-2) are right there with them.

When the season started the prevailing thought was that last year’s division winner, the Cincinnati Bengals would be in the running. However, Cincinnati has only won 2 games, one of which was at home against the Ravens. Now Cincinnati is threatened to be overtaken by a dangerous Cleveland Brown’s team (2-5). A team who on the road stunned the New Orleans Saints with a victory this past Sunday.

Ravens vs. Steelers

The Steelers defense has played at a high level helping save their season while quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was out for the first four games. With Roethlisberger back, the Steelers look like they have a slight edge as the front runner.

The Ravens on the other hand can score points now, but need to improve on defense specifically the pass rush and the play of the corners has to get better. In their last two games the defense gave up fourth quarter leads. With safety Ed Reed back they look to regroup during the bye week.

Between Now & The Next Meeting

The Ravens win in Pittsburgh (week 4) was an important victory, and they will need to keep pace between now and their next head-to-head match-up. In week 13 the Steelers will travel to Baltimore.

Between now and week 13, here’s what the schedule looks like for both teams:

PITTSBURGH:

Pittsburgh at New Orleans ( Week 8 )

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (Week 9)

New England at Pittsburgh (Week 10)

Oakland at Pittsburgh (Week 11)

Pittsburgh @ Buffalo (Week 12)

BALTIMORE:

Bye ( Week  8 )

Dolphins at Ravens (Week 9)

Ravens at Atlanta  (Week 10)

Ravens at Carolina (Week 11)

Tampa Bay at Ravens (Week 12)

BY THE NUMBERS: STATS COMPARISON

Steelers Offense:

Points: 22.8 (15th)

Yards: 300.7 (26th)

Pass yards: 181.8 (26th)

Rush yards: 118.8 (11th)

vs.

Ravens Offense:

Points: 21.3 (17th)

Yards 340.3 (15th)

Pass yards 225.4 (15th)

Rush Yards 114.9 (12th)

______________________

Steelers Defense

Points: 13.7 (1st)

Yards 299.3 (4th)

Pass Yards 235.7 (24th)

Rush yards 63.7 (1st)

vs.

Ravens Defense:

Points: 18.4 (6th)

Yards: 313.9 (9th)

Pass yards: 204.6 (8th)

Rush Yards: 109.3 (17th)

AFC NORTH STANDINGS:

Pittsburgh Steelers 5 -1

Baltimore Ravens 5-2

Cincinnati Bengals 2-4

Cleveland Browns 2-5


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