Wake-up call: Measuring stick for Steelers

October, 31, 2012
10/31/12
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Happy Halloween to the AFC North blog family. Hopefully none of the Steelers fans are using those 1934 jerseys as their costumes. That would truly be frightful. Here's your first treat of the day, the wake-up call ...

RAVENS: The Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston says getting defensive tackle Haloti Ngata healthy is the top priority for the Ravens, especially with games against the Browns' Trent Richardson, the Raiders' Darren McFadden and the Steelers' Jonathan Dwyer coming up in the next three weeks. "Ngata might be the best tackle in the NFL, but played the past three games with an MCL sprain and shoulder injury," Preston wrote. "He started all three games, but missed some playing time because of the injuries. In two of those three games, the Ravens allowed more than 200 yards rushing and 181 in the third game against Houston."

STEELERS: Pittsburgh is looking at Sunday's game at the New York Giants as a measuring stick. "We are playing the defending champions at their place," coach Mike Tomlin said, via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "That is varsity football, as we say in our business. Looking at what they have done this year, it's equally as impressive. They are 6-2. They've won their last four games. They do things that winning teams do." The Steelers are still searching for a signature win this season. All four of their victories have come against teams that have losing records and own a combined 12-18 mark (.400).

BENGALS: Pat Sims' season could be in jeopardy because of a hamstring injury. Sims, who started 23 games at defensive tackle in his first four seasons, has only one more week on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list before the Bengals have to make a decision whether to begin his three-week practice window or shelve him for the season. “We're waiting on Pat to get where Pat can help us,” coach Marvin Lewis said, via CBS Sports. “He's being given certain guidelines to do so that he can achieve it quickly. He's got some time.”

BROWNS: The Browns are starting to build some momentum. Cleveland has won two of its past three games after losing 11 games in a row. "Since I've been here it's just been ‘We're happy we got a win, OK -- phew,'" tight end Alex Smith told The News-Herald. "Now we're developing a culture. We're just trying to keep on this path of (going up). I think it hit home even more when (owner Jimmy Haslam) came in and talked to us. That was pretty much the bottom line. He said, ‘I'm about winning. Whoever's on board, we'll be good.' That was kind of awakening everybody -- it's go time."

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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