It's almost time to watch some AFC North teams in action again. The NFL schedule-makers have created quite a gap for the division. The Ravens and Browns haven't played since Sept. 27, and the Steelers haven't been on the field since Sept. 23. Division teams can't complain about needing some rest. But there's no such thing as rest with the AFC North blog. Here's your wake-up call ...
RAVENS: Nose tackle Terrence Cody, a second-round pick two years ago, isn't complaining about losing his starting job to free agent Maake Kemoeatu. "I'm staying patient," Cody told The Baltimore Sun. "It really isn't a big issue who starts because the playing time is similar. It's a long season and anything can happen." Well, that's not exactly right. Cody played 79 snaps on defense, which is 53 fewer than Kemoeatu. Cody's biggest contribution over the past couple of seasons was knocking out Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles in the playoffs two seasons ago by landing on top of him. The Ravens may need Cody to neutralize Charles, who is averaging 5.7 yards per carry, once again Sunday.
BENGALS: Taylor Mays wants to be an "intimidating presence" on defense. But Mays understands the difference between big hits and big penalties. “I think earlier in the season, and at the end of the preseason, I ended up hurting the team by getting personal foul penalties on hits,” Mays told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I can’t get the personal-foul penalties, because when that happens you’re pretty much setting the offense up for a score. That’s too much of a liability to the defense.” A week after being flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit in the opener, Mays didn't play a defensive snap the next game. His playing time has increased the past two games and he could be in line to start at strong safety again Sunday.
STEELERS: The Steelers-Eagles game isn't a division game, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said this intra-state matchup is still a rivalry. It stems from Pittsburgh's dislike for the city of brotherly love. "No matter what sport it is, it seems to be Pittsburgh versus Philly and a general hatred," Roethlisberger told the Beaver County Times. "That's what I've noticed since I moved here about Philadelphia." Roethlisberger isn't just talking about the fans. He acknowledged that he doesn't like Philadelphia teams either. "I like to watch the [Penguins] fans boo the Flyers," he said. "So I boo, too.” Roethlisberger is 1-1 against the Eagles.
BROWNS: Rookie running back Trent Richardson told New York reporters in a conference call that he sees room to run on the Giants. According to the Newark Star-Ledger, the Giants allowed 132 rushing yards on the edges Sunday against Philadelphia. "If we put a hat on a number, just cover them up, I think we can get yards on them," Richardson said. "But at the same time, I know they're going to throw everything they can at us. I'm pretty sure they're going to game plan on our running game, and so we've got to make sure we open up the passing game so we can get some good runs in." Richardson has 64 carries this season, which is tied for 15th in the league. That's not exactly the workload everyone expected when the Browns selected Richardson with the third overall pick in the draft.