AFC North: Final Word 2010 Week 5

Final Word: AFC North

October, 8, 2010
10/08/10
4:00
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 5:

Terrell Owens/Chad Ochocinco
AP Photo/Stephan SavoiaTerrell Owens' negative reputation is perhaps why he's out of the NFL, while his equally eccentric ex-Bengals teammate Chad Ochocinco is employed.
Taming T.O. and Ocho: What is the best way to defend the Cincinnati Bengals' dynamic receiving duo of Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco? Teams are using different strategies, but the idea used in Week 4 by the Cleveland Browns likely won't be copied Sunday by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Cleveland doubled Ochocinco by providing help over the top nearly the entire game, allowing Owens to face one-on-one coverage. As a result, Owens exploded for 10 catches, 222 yards and a touchdown. The Bengals lost the game but the future Hall of Famer proved he still has it. Last season, the Bengals had no reliable second option when teams doubled Ochocinco.

Benson to break out against Bucs? It's been a slow start for Bengals tailback Cedric Benson, who is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry. But this could be the week Benson finds his groove against a Tampa defense ranked No. 28 against the run. This is a good matchup for Cincinnati's burly offensive line, which has struggled. Tampa's front seven is built on speed first, and that will give Cincinnati a chance to be physical and control the line of scrimmage. The Bucs allow 141.3 rushing yards per game. The Pittsburgh Steelers ran for 201 yards against Tampa in its last outing.

The Pittsburgh hangover. The Baltimore Ravens' biggest challenge could be themselves this week. Baltimore will try to avoid a hangover against the Denver Broncos following last week's emotional victory over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Since 2005, the Ravens are just 3-6 in games after playing Pittsburgh. All of those contests were very physical and emotionally draining. So Baltimore will have to keep its focus high to improve to 4-1.

Dueling No. 1s. Baltimore and Denver present a surprising matchup between the NFL's No. 1 pass defense (Ravens) and No. 1 pass offense (Broncos). Baltimore was expected to struggle without Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed, who is on the physically unable to perform list with a hip injury. But cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington have returned from knee injuries to play well, and safety Tom Zbikowski also has filled in fine for Reed. The Ravens are holding opponents to an NFL-best 119 passing yards per game. Baltimore will need another strong performance against Broncos quarterback and early MVP candidate Kyle Orton, who has thrown for 1,419 yards and six touchdowns.

No reprieve for Browns' secondary: Cleveland's secondary struggled against quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Carson Palmer the past two weeks. Now comes its latest challenge in Matt Ryan, who is off to a good start for the hot Atlanta Falcons. Cleveland's young secondary is going through some growing pains, and Ryan and others will continue to test this unit until its proves it can handle opponent's passing games. After the Falcons, the Browns' defense will face an even tougher trio of quarterbacks in Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees and Tom Brady in consecutive games.

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