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Friday, September 19, 2008
Audibles: AFC North Week 3 preview


Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) at New York Giants (2-0), 1 p.m. ET

The Bengals will have an especially difficult task against the Giants. New York is extremely physical on both sides of the football, and Cincinnati has struggled in that aspect. The Bengals were pounded physically in losses to both the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans.

Cincinnati's offense has been surprisingly listless. Starting quarterback Carson Palmer is getting knocked around and looks shaky in the pocket. Receivers T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Ocho Cinco are not getting open, and tailback Chris Perry is still looking for his first breakout game.

It likely won't come this week. The Giants are only allowing 10 points per game, which is tied for second in the NFL.

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1), 4:15 p.m. ET

The Steelers travel to play the Eagles in arguably the best game of the week.

Pittsburgh has quietly risen to the top of the AFC with solid wins over the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns. The Steelers are versatile and dangerous on offense and as well as aggressive defensively.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is fighting a shoulder sprain but has been efficient. He should get more opportunities to air it out this weekend against a defense that allowed 41 points last week against the Dallas Cowboys.

On the flip side, Philadelphia's offense presents an interesting challenge for the Steelers. Quarterback Donovan McNabb appears to be back, and Brian Westbrook may be the most dynamic running back Pittsburgh faces all season.

Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Baltimore Ravens (1-0), 4:15 p.m. ET

This is a must-win game for Cleveland following a pair of losses to the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns, coming off a 10-win season in 2007, feel they are better than their record and simply ran into a pair of Super Bowl contenders to start the season. They will find out where they stack up with the Ravens on the road.

Baltimore is coming off an impromptu bye week following weather complications in Houston from Hurricane Ike. Rookie quarterback Joe Flacco will make his second career start and is coming off a successful season debut in a 17-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Browns only have 16 points total in two games. The offense has looked completely out of synch and will try to get back on track against one of the NFL's top defenses.