Three of the four teams in the AFC North were in action this week, with the Pittsburgh Steelers being idle on their bye week. The Cincinnati Bengals were on the road in Jacksonville and the Baltimore Ravens hosted the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night football.
Baltimore and Cleveland hooked up in a prototypical AFC North battle where defense and big hits ruled the night. The Ravens escaped with a 23-16 victory, having kept the Browns out of the end zone on the final play of the game. Ravens CB Cary Williams made the play of the game when he intercepted a Brandon Weeden pass and returned 63 yards to the house to put the Ravens up by two possessions in the third quarter. Joe Flacco continued playing like a legitimate MVP candidate completing 28 of 46 pass attempts for 356 yards and two touchdowns (one rushing). Anquan Boldin had his best game of the season thus far reeling in nine catches for 131 yards and Torrey Smith chipped in with 97 yards receiving and a touchdown. Cleveland's rookie running back Trent Richardson had 104 total yards (47 rushing and 57 receiving) with a touchdown and kicker Phil Dawson drilled three field goals from 50+ yards. The victory improved the Ravens record to 3-1 and the loss dropped the Browns to 0-4.
The Cincinnati Bengals were on the road squaring off against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville held a 7-3 lead briefly in the second quarter before the Bengals exploded offensively scoring 24 points to the Jaguars three the rest of the way to pull out a 27-10 victory. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton had a nice day completing 20 of 31 pass attempts for 244 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Benjarvis Green-Ellis continued his steady play in the backfield rushing for 82 yards on 26 carries. AJ Green continues to look like the best receiver in the AFC North as he caught six passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, and already has 27 receptions for 428 yards and three touchdowns this season. The Bengals win improved their record to 3-1 on the season.
All four AFC North teams are in action this Sunday at 1pm EST:
Baltimore Ravens (3-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-3)
Cleveland Browns (0-4) at New York Giants (2-2)
Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) vs Miami Dolphins (1-3)
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)
It should be another exciting week of AFC North football as the Ravens hope to separate themselves from the rest of the division. Here is how the standings look as of now, with Baltimore being atop due to their week one victory over Cincinnati:
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