AFC North: 2010 Week 13 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Saints 34, Bengals 30

December, 5, 2010
Here are some thoughts on the New Orleans Saints' 34-30 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals:

What it means: Despite a solid effort, the Bengals fell to 2-10 and extended their losing streak to an NFL-high nine games. Cincinnati is now battling for draft position. Players and coaches in the locker room obviously want to win. But each loss gets this team closer to securing one of the top picks in next year's NFL draft.

What I liked: It's a shame this game was blacked out in the Cincinnati area, because it was the most entertaining Bengal games in weeks. Cincinnati's offense wasn't perfect, but it played well in the second half and put up 30 points against the defending Super Bowl champs. Bengals tailback Cedric Benson also had two rushing touchdowns. Cincinnati didn't turn over the football against New Orleans, which kept the Bengals in the game.

What I didn't like: The Bengals gave away this game by not paying attention to the small details, such as Pat Sims jumping offside on fourth down, Cincinnati missing an extra-point attempt and not getting a big fourth-down conversion near the end zone. Cincinnati had 10 days of preparation for this game and continues to make inexcusable mistakes. The Saints did not bring their 'A' game Sunday and were ripe for an upset. But Cincinnati kept finding ways to beat itself.

What's next: The road doesn't get easier for the downtrodden Bengals, who will travel next week to face the Pittsburgh Steelers. On paper, it doesn't appear Cincinnati will win many games the rest of the season. But if the Bengals put forth the same effort with less mistakes, they might have a chance to pull off an upset or two.

Wrap-up: Browns 13, Dolphins 10

December, 5, 2010
Here are some thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 13-10 victory against the Miami Dolphins:

What it means: In what was an ugly game, Cleveland showed growth by winning its second in a row, improving to 5-7. The Browns won just five games last season, and they have a good chance to improve on that record and try to finish at or near .500 in the final month of the season.

What I liked: Cleveland's defense was opportunistic and took advantage of an awful day by Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne. The Browns intercepted Henne three times, including a late pick in the final minute by defensive back Mike Adams, setting up Phil Dawson's game-winning field goal. Tight end Ben Watson also led the Browns with 10 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown.

What I didn't like: Cleveland's offense sputtered most of the game and had just 12 first downs. Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme (217 yards, one touchdown) played better this week, but he nearly threw an interception late in the fourth quarter that could have set up a win for the Dolphins. Miami also stuffed Cleveland running back Peyton Hillis, who gained just 57 yards on 18 carries.

What's next: The Browns have two winnable games coming up on the road against the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. A pair of wins here would get Cleveland back to .500, before the team completes its 2010 season against the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.