Morning take: The Flacco factor

Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker

Here are the most interesting stories Friday in the AFC North:

  • The Baltimore Ravens' season could hinge on how much quarterback Joe Flacco improves in his second year.

Morning take: The Ravens haven’t put together back-to-back quality seasons in a long time, and a major reason was Baltimore’s quarterbacks couldn’t do the same. Flacco has a good chance to break that streak.

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Tennessee Titans. But they will have to move on without injured safety Troy Polamalu.

Morning take: The Pro Bowler will be out for approximately a month, and so much of what Pittsburgh does defensively is built around Polamalu’s unique skills. This is a big loss, to say the least.

  • The Cincinnati Bengals were given a 24-hour extension by the NFL in hopes of avoiding a blackout Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

Morning take: This could help but it still looks like it will go down to the wire to see if the Bengals can sell every ticket Friday.

  • Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre are sharing the same field once again this weekend.

Morning take: The pair led the New York Jets last year to a great start and a tumultuous finish. But the two have developed a good friendship in the process.