AFC North: Final Word 2012 Week 12

Final Word: AFC North

November, 23, 2012
11/23/12
1:30
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 12:

Veteran arm: Charlie Batch is the third starting quarterback in as many games for the Steelers after Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich went down with rib and shoulder injuries in consecutive weeks. Batch, who turns 38 on Dec. 5, becomes the oldest quarterback in Steelers' history to start a game when they face Cleveland Sunday. When Batch threw his first NFL pass in 1998, Steelers starting center Maurkice Pouncey was 9 years old. But Batch brings more than experience. He has a solid track record, winning five of his seven fill-in starts (.714). Since he made his first start for the Steelers in 2005, the only quarterbacks to make at least seven starts and have a better winning percentage than Batch are Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Jake Plummer and Matt Ryan, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

[+] EnlargeCharlie Batch
J. Meric/Getty ImagesCharlie Batch has won five of his seven fill-in starts for Pittsburgh.
Third-down troublemakers: The Ravens rank second in the AFC with 21 takeaways, and they step up in passing situations. Baltimore has forced an NFL-high nine turnovers on third downs, which could come into play Sunday at San Diego. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has thrown a league-high 14 interceptions this season, and his 43 turnovers since the start of 2011 are the most in the NFL. Last season, Rivers completed 73.9 percent of his passes and averaged 15.9 yards per completion against the Ravens.

Going south in the AFC North: The Browns have lost 16 of their past 17 games against the Steelers, including four straight. Their previous win against Pittsburgh came in 2009, when Eric Mangini was coach and Brady Quinn was the starting quarterback. Cleveland's problems in the AFC North aren't limited to the Steelers, though; it has lost 13 of its past 14 divisional games. Its 2-14 record in the AFC North since 2010 is the worst of any team in divisional play during that time, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Weekly A.J. Green nugget: Bengals receiver A.J. Green is looking to become the third player in NFL history to have a receiving touchdown in 10 straight games within a single season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The only two receivers who have done this are Elroy Hirsch (10 straight in 1951) and Jerry Rice (12 straight in 1987). The impressive part is how Green has scored his touchdowns. Of his NFL-leading 10 touchdown catches, three have been receptions of 50 yards or longer, which also tops the league.

Richardson on a tear: Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson has gained at least 95 yards rushing in three straight games. He'll be going against the Steelers and the NFL's fifth-ranked run defense (89.8 yards per game). The Steelers have only allowed two 100-yard rushers this season: Darren McFadden and Jamaal Charles. Richardson needs 72 yards from scrimmage to set a Browns rookie record. His 959 yards from scrimmage are currently second among all rookies this season (Doug Martin has 1,319 yards).

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AFC NORTH SCOREBOARD

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