Sunday, December 11, 2011
Warm-up: Run games take spotlight
By Jamison Hensley
Here's your Sunday game-day warm-up:
CINCINNATI -- The AFC North is expected to come up big today, at least according to ESPN NFL experts. The Ravens and the Bengals are overwhelming favorites in Sunday's NFL picks.
It's no shocker that everyone selected the Ravens to beat the winless Colts today in Baltimore. It did, however, come as a surprise that nearly everyone (six of eight prognosticators) chose Cincinnati to defeat the AFC South-leading Houston Texans. Here are my picks for today's games.
When it comes to today's AFC North games, being able to stop the run and establish the run are the main storylines:
BENGALS: No other team in the NFL has rushed more times than the Texans (432 attempts). In fact, no other team in the league has rushed more than 400 times this season. The Bengals have allowed 3.6 yards per carry, which is third-best in the NFL.
RAVENS: Teams have run the ball 418 times -- second-most in the NFL -- against the Indianapolis Colts. The Ravens have showed a renewed commitment to the running game, giving the ball to Ray Rice 20 or more times in three consecutive games. He needs 74 yards for his third 1,000-yard season in a row.
As everyone knows, the Browns and Steelers played on Thursday night. There will be blogs posted on both those teams starting Monday.