Final Word: AFC North

September, 17, 2010
9/17/10
3:39
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 2:

[+] EnlargeCarson Palmer
James Lang/US PresswireCarson Palmer needs to continue his success against Baltimore to avoid an 0-2 start for the Bengals.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer needs to shine once again against the Baltimore Ravens. With the exception of Peyton Manning, no quarterback has given Baltimore's defense more trouble than Palmer the past several years. Palmer is 8-3 in 11 career starts against Baltimore, which includes a two-game sweep of the Ravens last year. He has thrown for 2,730 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions against Baltimore in 11 games. Cincinnati receivers Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Jordan Shipley and tight end Jermaine Gresham will be a stern test for the Ravens' secondary, which held up well in Week 1 against the New York Jets.

The Bengals, who have playoff aspirations, do not want to fall to 0-2 in the competitive AFC North. Last year, nine teams started 0-2 and none made the playoffs. Since the playoff format extended to 12 teams in 1990, only 13 percent of teams with 0-2 starts have made the postseason. Cincinnati has a seven-game winning streak against AFC North opponents dating to 2008. The Bengals' last division loss was to Baltimore on Nov. 30, 2008.

Can Baltimore's defense continue its dominance on third down? The Ravens were lights out last week, holding the Jets to 1-for-11 on third-down conversions. Dominating third down helped the Ravens control the tempo and kept their offense on the field. The Bengals were much better than New York on third down offensively last week, converting 8-of-15 against the New England Patriots.

Is Seneca Wallace ready? The Cleveland Browns' backup quarterback is the favorite to make his first career start Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Although he hasn't been ruled out as of Friday, Browns starter Jake Delhomme (ankle) missed all of practice this week with an ankle injury. Wallace was a part-time starter with the Seattle Seahawks and went 5-9. Despite the different strengths of the QBs, Cleveland says it doesn't have to change its offense much under Wallace, who is more mobile in the pocket.

Who is Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Jonathan Scott? For better or for worse, the Tennessee Titans are about to find out. Following last week's ankle injury to Max Starks, Scott is expected to start Sunday at left tackle, which is an important role to protect inexperienced quarterback Dennis Dixon. Scott, 27, has 14 career starts and is a favorite of new Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler, who helped bring the offensive tackle over from the Buffalo Bills. Scott filled in fairly well last week after Starks was hurt against the Atlanta Falcons.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

Insider

NFL SCOREBOARD