AFC North: 2013 Week 6 QB Watch

QB Watch: Bengals' Andy Dalton

October, 16, 2013
10/16/13
11:15
AM ET
A weekly analysis of the Bengals' quarterback play.

Dalton
Dalton
Rewind: For only the fourth time in his career, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw for more than 300 yards and passed for three touchdowns, when he led his team to a 27-24 overtime win at Buffalo. The outing drew praise from Dalton's coaches, teammates and most parts of the fan base. Running back Giovani Bernard, who weaved past a pair of defenders at the end of one Dalton shovel pass for a 20-yard touchdown, called Dalton's performance "amazing."

Fast-forward: This weekend, Dalton and the Bengals travel to Detroit for the first time since a preseason game there in his rookie season. The most memorable highlight from a 34-3 Lions rout was when Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh drew a personal foul for picking up a helmet-less Dalton and slamming him to the turf after the quarterback already had gotten rid of a pass. It was an ugly penalty for any game, let alone Dalton's first preseason contest. Cincinnati's offensive line will want to ensure nothing like that happens this time.

Drought ended: With his first-quarter touchdown pass to A.J. Green on Sunday, Dalton ended a passing touchdown drought that spanned nearly three weeks. In all, 140 minutes, 32 seconds of game action had passed between the time Dalton completed a fourth-quarter, 11-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones in a Week 3 win over Green Bay and his 18-yard completion to Green.

Prediction: Against Buffalo, Dalton faced a blitz-heavy unit. To counter that, the Bengals dumped off numerous short passes in space to avoid the rush and get their pass-catchers to use their athleticism to pick up big yards. While not quite as good as the Bills when sending pressure, the Lions are still one of the league's toughest teams with five or more rushers. Expect a similar scheme and look for big yard-after-catch production again Sunday.

QB Watch: Ravens' Joe Flacco

October, 16, 2013
10/16/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly examination of the Baltimore Ravens' quarterback play:

Flacco
Rewind: It was another slow start for Joe Flacco. He was 13-of-26 for 201 yards through the first three quarters, and he was 7-of-8 for 141 yards in the fourth quarter. As Flacco put it, the impressive finish was "too little, too late." The big problem for Flacco was the third-and-longs. He converted first downs on only 2 of 9 third-down passes and was sacked three times on third down. For the second straight week, he was stripped from behind after his left tackle was beaten badly. Flacco finished with 342 yards passing, but the Ravens are 0-3 this season when Flacco throws for more than 300 yards.

Fast-forward: Flacco has won three of his past four meetings with the rival Steelers. Both of his performances last season were average at best. Flacco was held under 190 yards passing each time and made a costly turnover in the last meeting. He had the ball stripped away by James Harrison in the fourth quarter, which led to a game-tying touchdown.

Rough road: It's been tough going for Flacco away from Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium. In three road games, he has completed 54.2 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and eight interceptions. His quarterback rating on the road is 61.6, which is significantly lower than his rating at home (99.3). Flacco has thrown an interception in each of his three road games this season. Last year, he was picked off a total of five times on the road.

Prediction: The Steelers have had a disappointing season, but their pass defense remains one of the best statistically. Pittsburgh has allowed 196 yards passing per game and has given up four touchdown passes, tied for fewest in the NFL. The odds are against Flacco having a strong game at Pittsburgh.

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