Final Word: AFC North

October, 12, 2012
10/12/12
1:30
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 6:

Home sweet home: The Ravens are among the best teams in the NFL, sporting a 4-1 record. But no team is better than Baltimore at home. The Ravens' 13-game winning streak (14 if you include playoffs) is tops in the league, and no other team has more than eight in a row. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Baltimore is averaging 11 more points at home than on the road and has a plus-13 turnover differential (28 takeaways and 15 giveaways). Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions during the streak at M&T Bank Stadium. Dallas has lost six of its past 10 road games.

Tale of two streaks: It's common knowledge now that the Browns have lost 11 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL and one that ties the longest losing streak in team history. Cleveland also has dropped 12 straight games in the AFC North. The Browns' last division win came Oct. 3, 2010, against Cincinnati at home. The Browns are looking to end those streaks Sunday against the Bengals at home. Rookie running back Trent Richardson needs to be a big factor for Cleveland. He has scored a rushing touchdown in four straight games. His 303 yards rushing are the second most by a Browns rookie in the team's first five games in the Super Bowl era (Kevin Mack had 356 in 1985). Richardson totaled 145 yards and two touchdowns last month against the Bengals.

[+] EnlargeRay Rice
AP Photo/G. Newman LowranceRay Rice has struggled in games after breaking 100 yards rushing; he had 102 in Week 5.
No encore for Rice: Ravens running back Ray Rice is coming off his 15th career 100-yard running game. The Cowboys are allowing 108 yards rushing per game, which puts their run defense in the middle of the league. So Rice is going to have a productive game, right? Not necessarily. In the 14 previous games immediately after running for 100 yards, Rice has just one 100-yard game and three rushing touchdowns. His rushing average is 61.9 yards.

Not respecting the run: Not establishing the run has hurt the Bengals' passing game. Not only has Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton failed to produce a single 30-yard pass play on play-action, but he’s been sacked about once every seven drop-backs when using play-action. Look for Cincinnati to set up the pass with the run against the Browns, who gave up 243 yards rushing to the Giants this past Sunday. Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis gained 75 yards on 21 carries against Cleveland last month, a pedestrian 3.6-yard average.

Going deep against Big D: The Ravens have a much more explosive offense than last season. Baltimore had 57 plays of at least 20 yards in 2011, which ranked 22nd in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Ravens already have produced 30 such plays this season, which leads the league. Much of the credit goes to Flacco. He is the only NFL quarterback whose average pass is traveling more than 10 yards downfield (10.5). It will be a challenge to stretch the field against Dallas. The Cowboys have allowed 12 passes that were at least 20 yards this season, which is tied for the seventh fewest in the league.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

AFC NORTH SCOREBOARD