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Audibles: AFC North Week 7 preview

10/17/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-6), 1 p.m. ET

The top team in the AFC North will travel to play the worst team in the division when the Pittsburgh Steelers face the Cincinnati Bengals.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger loves playing in southern Ohio -- and in the state in general. The Miami (Ohio) alum is 5-0 in his career against the Bengals in Cincinnati and an unbelievable 10-0 in road games against the Bengals and Cleveland Browns overall.

Cincinnati will be without starting quarterback Carson Palmer (elbow) for the second consecutive game. The offense is struggling under backup signal-caller Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Bengals only have one play this season of 30 yards or more, which is last in the NFL.

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is in the middle of his first six-game losing streak of his career. After making the playoffs in 2005, Cincinnati is inching closer toward its third consecutive non-winning season.

Baltimore Ravens (2-3) at Miami Dolphins (2-3), 1 p.m. ET

Despite a pair of 2-3 records, this is one of the most intriguing matchups this week. This game is important for the status of both teams.

The Ravens have cooled after a fast start. Baltimore has lost three games in a row and needs to stop the bleeding. The Dolphins lost a close game to the Houston Texans last week. Both teams are only several plays away from being 4-1.

An interesting subplot to watch is if Baltimore's top-rated defense can stop Miami's "Wildcat" formation, which has given opponents a lot of trouble this season. Dolphins tailback Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have combined for 571 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in five games.

Meanwhile, the Ravens haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 24 consecutive games, which is an NFL best.

Cleveland Browns (2-3) at Washington Redskins (4-2), 4:15 p.m. ET

The Cleveland Browns will find out if last week's performance was a fluke or a turning point in their season Sunday when they travel to play the Washington Redskins.

Cleveland and Washington provided two of the biggest surprises in the NFL last week but for different reasons. The Browns pulled off a huge upset in convincing fashion by beating the previously undefeated New York Giants 35-14 on "Monday Night Football." The Redskins lost a shocker to the previously winless St. Louis Rams at home, 19-17.

Quarterback Derek Anderson is coming off a 310-yard, two-touchdown performance as the Browns gained 454 total yards and didn't punt once last week.

Will the short week hurt the Browns or allow Cleveland to carry over the momentum it created in last Monday's win over the defending Super Bowl champions?