Originally posted on WhoDeyFans  |  Last updated 12/4/12

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Charlie Batch #16 of the Pittsburgh Steelers smiles on the sidelines during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Alltel Stadium on September 18, 2006 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Come to the NFL’s version of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and see what the Candy Man might be conjuring. Few of us called that Charlie Batch would beat the Ravens on Sunday… in one of the toughest stadiums around to get a road win. But he did. And the Steelers just may have moved the division to the cusp of the tipping point in the process. A lot has to go right — or wrong — but the Bengals could be thankful for that win by the end of the month. The Bengals didn’t leap over the Steelers in the division on Sunday like you figured, if you assumed a Ravens win. But the Evil Empire trimmed the Ravens’ three-game lead in the division. Toppling the Ravens from their perch atop the AFCN now hinges mainly on the Redskins on Sunday. Except for detonating a truly sad Raiders team, the Ravens’ offense has been a shadow of the team we saw at the start of the season. They scored 23+ points in five of their first six games (31+ in three of them), but have notched 23+ just twice in the past six games. True, they have faced better defenses in the last six games, but they will see tough defenses for the rest of the year. The key for the ‘Skins is, of course, stopping Ray Rice. Ray is on pace for 1103 yds. Not bad at all, but that would be his worst year since his rookie season. He has been held under 50 yds rushing four times this year, and has surpassed 80 yds only four times. With the #4 overall rushing defense, the Redskins have the capability to hold him in check on the ground. (They just can’t forget about him as a catching threat.) On the flip side, the Ravens’ defense has been oddly mediocre. Suggs’ torn biceps may or may not keep him out of the game, but it certainly won’t help their cause either way. RG3 is finding his rhythm. He may not blow the game open, but he is making plays at key moments. The game is no gimme for either team. I am not predicting a Redskins win, but there is good reason to think it could happen. If it does, look at what happens from there. Week 15: A now 9-4 Ravens team would host the sizzling, Manning-powered Broncos, whom I think would give them a rare second-straight home loss. With a 8-5 Steelers team (I’m assuming they beat the Chargers in the Pitts this week) playing in Dallas, and a hopefully 8-5 Bengals team playing a dreadful Eagles team, the current two-game lead could very well be gone. Extrapolating further… Week 16: With three 9-5 teams tied for the division, the Bengals and Steelers face off in a game that even now has huge playoff implications for both teams. At the same time, the Ravens will square off against the Giants. I haven’t the slightest clue how this game might end up. The Giants tend to end strong, but are so unpredictable. For a Ravens team foundering through a 3-game losing streak while watching the Bengals and Steelers catch up to them, would they come together to buoy their season, or would a little desperation set in? Week 17: Could you even imagine the final game in Cincinnati with the Ravens tied with or even a game behind the Bengals? The odds of that happening are pretty low right now. (So were the odds of the St. Louis Cardinals making the MLB playoffs with two weeks to go in the 2011 season.) If the Ravens came to town having lost the previous four (or even three of the previous four) to play a Bengals team that had won their previous seven (or six of their previous seven), who would you put your money on? Again, this is all more “possible” than “probable” at this point. But I’m not making far-fetched assumptions either. There are no major upsets, like assuming the Jaguars go to into M&T and beat them. I’m just saying that Ravens fans shouldn’t get too comfortable yet. And that Bengals need to keep focused on the playoffs. The prize is getting closer. A lot hinges on this week.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

The NFL is thinking about eliminating the preseason

Romo expected to miss 6-10 weeks with broken bone in back

Kaepernick explains why he is protesting national anthem

Dwyane Wade’s cousin shot and killed in Chicago

NFL tries to reduce kick returns, promptly causes more kick returns

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

San Francisco Giants inching closer to a record they really don’t want

Clint Dempsey undergoing testing for irregular heartbeat

Troubling details emerge from Jeremy Jeffress' DWI arrest

Chargers would welcome Joey Bosa if he signed contract

Falcons rookie Keanu Neal needs surgery on knee

Jerry Jones unhappy with Ezekiel Elliott's dispensary visit

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

Marshall’s first impression of Fitzpatrick: ‘He was terrible’

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Six worst quarterback situations in the NFL

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker