Sunday, October 23, 2011
Warm-up: Potential sweep for AFC North
By Jamison Hensley
Here's your game-day warm-up:
If the experts for ESPN's NFL picks are correct, it will be a clean sweep for the AFC North in Week 7. The majority had the Browns, Steelers and Ravens all winning (the Bengals are on a bye).
Everyone had the Ravens over the Jaguars, and all but one chose the Steelers to win at Arizona. The closest call was the Browns beating the Seahawks (five picked Cleveland while three went with Seattle).
As far as the standings go, the Ravens (4-1) hold a half-game lead over the Steelers (4-2) and Bengals (4-2). The Browns trail by two games.
Here are some storylines for Sunday's games:
- Seahawks (2-3) at Browns (2-3): Seattle's Charlie Whitehurst is expected make his first start of the season (and third of his career) because starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is doubtful. In his two previous starts, both last season, Whitehurst completed 57.6 percent of his passes for a total of 305 yards. His quarterback rating for those starts was 68.8 ... Browns cornerback Joe Haden (knee) is considered a game-time decision.
- Steelers (4-2) at Cardinals (1-4): Nose tackle Steve McLendon will make his first NFL start as injuries continue to hinder the Steelers defensive line. This marks the first time that Pittsburgh won't have either Casey Hampton (shoulder) or Chris Hoke (neck) at nose tackle since 2001. It will be interesting to see if this change affects the Steelers run defense. Arizona's Beanie Wells ranks fourth in the NFL with 95.3 rushing yards per game. His six touchdowns are tied for second in the league.