Final Word: AFC North

November, 9, 2012
11/09/12
1:30
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 10:

Clamping down on quarterbacks: The Steelers have been a nightmare for quarterbacks recently. Over the past three games, Pittsburgh has given up a total of 407 yards passing and has held quarterbacks to under 178 yards passing a game: the Bengals' Andy Dalton (105 yards), the Redskins' Robert Griffin III (177) and Eli Manning (125). This doesn't bode well for the Chiefs' Matt Cassel, who is starting because Brady Quinn has a concussion. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Cassel has the most pass attempts (66) without a touchdown pass against five or more rushers this season. The Steelers have used such pressure 41.7 percent of the time this season, the third-highest rate in the NFL.

Home cooking for Flacco: Dating back to 2010, the Ravens are 19-1 at home, and quarterback Joe Flacco deserves a lot of credit for that impressive mark. During that stretch, he has averaged 245 yards passing with 30 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His passer rating is 96.6. Look for the Ravens to run early to set up the play-action passes deep downfield. Flacco has 20 completions longer than 25 yards this season, which trails only Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Eli Manning. The Raiders got burned last Sunday, when Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson caught passes of 20 and 64 yards.

[+] EnlargeAndy Dalton
AP Photo/Michael KeatingAndy Dalton is one pick away from becoming the sixth QB to throw one in a season's first nine games.
Bad matchup: Bengals quarterback Dalton has thrown an interception once every 25.9 pass attempts this season, which is the third-worst rate in the NFL this season. The Giants defense has picked off a pass once every 18.4 attempts, second-best in the league this year. Based on this, the prospects of Dalton ending his interception streak don't look promising. Dalton is trying to avoid becoming the sixth quarterback in the past 30 seasons to throw an interception in his first nine games. The others who have done this: Vince Ferragamo (1983 and 1985), Steve DeBerg (1985), Warren Moon (1986), Jim Kelly (1988) and Troy Aikman (1990).

How the west was won: It's well known that Baltimore has the NFL's longest current home winning streak at 14 games. But the Ravens have another impressive streak as well: They've beaten teams from the West divisions (AFC and NFC) 10 consecutive times at home, dating back to the 2004 season. It's a longer drought for the Raiders, who have never defeated the Ravens in Baltimore (losing all four matchups). The last time the Raiders won a game in Baltimore was December 24, 1977. That was the AFC divisional playoff against the Colts which featured the famous 42-yard reception by Raiders tight end Dave Casper late in the fourth quarter, better known as the “Ghost to the Post.”

Back-to-back with Manning brothers: The Bengals host Eli Manning just one week after facing Peyton Manning at Paul Brown Stadium. This marks only the third time that a team has faced the Manning brothers in consecutive weeks. The Titans swept them in 2006, and the Ravens split the meetings in 2004, when Eli Manning was a rookie. The last time the Bengals went against Eli Manning was 2008, when he threw for 289 yards and one touchdown in a 26-23 overtime victory at Giants Stadium.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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