Audibles: AFC North Week 14 preview

December, 5, 2008
12/05/08
4:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Cleveland Browns (4-8) at Tennessee Titans (11-1), 1 p.m. ET

After losing two quarterbacks for the season in back-to-back weeks, the limping Cleveland Browns travel to face one of the best teams in the NFL in the Tennessee Titans.

This game could get ugly in Nashville.

The Browns will start third-string quarterback Ken Dorsey after losing both Derek Anderson (knee) and Brady Quinn (finger) to season-ending injuries. Dorsey hasn't started a game since 2005 and now he has to face Tennessee's fifth-ranked defense.

If there is anything interesting to watch in this game, it's the matchup between Cleveland defensive tackle Shaun Rogers and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth of Tennessee. The pair have been among the most dominant linemen in the NFL this year and will share the same field Sunday.

Cincinnati Bengals (1-10-1) at Indianapolis Colts (8-4), 1 p.m. ET

Coming off a 31-point defeat at home last week, the Bengals travel to Indianapolis in what should be another drubbing against the sizzling Colts.

Indianapolis has won five straight and the Mannings are a combined 6-1 against the AFC North, including a 3-0 mark for Peyton Manning and the Colts. Sunday likely will complete a clean sweep for Indianapolis against the division.

Cincinnati is 0-6 on the road this year and has been outscored a whopping 310-151 overall. The Bengals are running out of healthy players and recently signed linebacker Victor Hobson, who could come off the street and see his first action for Cincinnati Sunday.

Dallas Cowboys (8-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3), 4:15 p.m. ET

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be searching for their second straight marquee win Sunday when they host the Dallas Cowboys at Heinz Field. Last week, Pittsburgh was impressive in pounding the New England Patriots, 33-10.

The Steelers defense has been phenomenal, holding all 12 opponents this year to under 300 yards, which is tied for the second longest streak since the AFL/NFL merger. Dallas, with its various offensive weapons, could be the biggest challenger to that streak to date.

With losses to the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh has struggled against the NFC East this year. The common denominator in those losses was the inability to protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, so expect Dallas to pressure the Steelers a lot on Sunday.

Pittsburgh has a chance to clinch a playoff berth this week. The Steelers would need to beat the Cowboys and have the New England Patriots (7-5) and Miami Dolphins (7-5) both lose their games. Pittsburgh is 15-5 in December games since 2004 and hopes that trend continues Sunday.

Washington Redskins (7-5) at Baltimore Ravens (8-5), 8:15 p.m. ET

Two teams heading in opposite directions face off Sunday when the Baltimore Ravens host the Washington Redskins.

Baltimore has won six of its last seven games and is averaging 30.5 points in that span. The Ravens' defense also is ranked No. 2 and has an NFL-best 31-game streak of holding rushers under 100 yards. That combination is making Baltimore a tough matchup for opponents.

The Redskins meanwhile have lost three of four but should be hungry Sunday. This is a must-win game for Washington as it tries to keep pace in a crowded wild-card race. Right now the Redskins are only a half-game above the Philadelphia Eagles (6-5-1), who are in last place in the NFC East.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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AFC NORTH SCOREBOARD

Sunday, 12/21
Monday, 12/22