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November 24, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with James Walker

James Walker
  (4:00 PM)

It was definitely not a good week for the AFC North. So let's discuss all that happened today.

Josh Davis (Jackson,oh)

Hey James! What is your outlook on the Bengals following that loss to the Raiders last Sunday? Do games like that happen to championship teams because of the talent in the NFL? or Did the Bengals prove they're not ready to make a run to the Super Bowl?

James Walker
  (4:03 PM)

I don't know if anyone ever listed the Bengals as a Super Bowl team. I felt they were a sleeper coming into the year, and as the season went on I think they're a dangerous playoff team. But outings like Sunday shows Cincinnati still has a lot to work on. Performances like that will hurt you every time in a one-and-done situation in the playoffs.

Kyle biloxi ms [via mobile]

Who do you think is the best nfl team?

James Walker
  (4:05 PM)

That's a tough one. I would go with the Colts and Patriots right now. I'm not sure the Saints are playoff tested enough when it comes to the pressure of the postseason. The Vikings are good, too. but I think they are a little overrated.

Mike S (CT)

James, hopefully Sunday's game officially spelled the end of the Derek Anderson era in Cleveland. However, the Browns still seem to suffer from a dearth of offensive skill position players. Aside from Quinn and Massaquoi, are there any other long-term contributors on Cleveland's roster (counting Cribbs more on ST)?

James Walker
  (4:07 PM)

That is a major question in Cleveland. But the Browns have several players to build around. Joe Thomas is one that should be there long-term. Josh Cribbs and Shaun Rogers are two more. Brady Quinn really needed a performance like Sunday to show what he can do. I think he's still in a trial period with the Browns. It was just one good game.

Christian (Billings)

How do you see the Ravens & Steelers matchup going down?

James Walker
  (4:10 PM)

I anticipate getting this question a lot today. For those that don't know, I make picks every Friday in the AFC North. I'm waiting, still not 100 percent sure Ben Roethlsiberger will play. Mike Tomlin said he will sit him if he has symptoms during the week.

Jason Williams (Dayton, OH)

James,Please enlighten me with some good news regarding Holmgren coming to Cleveland...do you think it will happen? I'm tired of the decade long rebuilding stage!

James Walker
  (4:13 PM)

I'm not sure anything is going to happen until after the regular season is over as it pertains to Mike Holmgren. The Browns are interested and so is Holmgren, but it's going to take some time to discuss the terms of the job. My guess is Holmgren wants complete power over the roster and choosing a head coach, and that's going to be a major sticking point for both sides.

Hende (OH)

Early in the season there were many complaints on how the Browns traded Edwards, Winslow and the rights to Sanchez for roll players and draft picks. Given how this season has played out, is there any reason to believe the Browns would be significantly better had they not made those trades? Edwards, Winslow and Sanchez are not pro bowlers this year.

James Walker
  (4:16 PM)

I don't know if there were many complaints about the trades, per se, as it was about what the Browns got in return. Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow were not Eric Mangini type of players. You could see that a mile away. So moving both players weren't a surprise. But getting veterans that were not impact players and using draft picks that haven't panned out (Brian Robiskie) put the spotlight on the moves.

James Walker
  (4:17 PM)

As far as Mark Sanchez, time will tell whether the Browns made the right or wrong move down the road.

Harold (st.parisohio)

will the bengals bounce back after a lost tooakland?

James Walker
  (4:18 PM)

The Bengals play the Browns this week at home, which is a team they should beat. But the funny thing is, the Browns have played the Bengals tough as of late, which makes it an interesting game.

Joshhh... (Cleveland,TN)

What did you think of that shanked field goal last night? Shouldn't a guy who is getting paid to exclusively kick field goals be able to kick in the clutch?...

James Walker
  (4:21 PM)

Trust me, Josh, I've seen a lot of missed kicks in the AFC North. Steve Hauschka and Jeff Reed earlier in the season come to mind.

Salomon (New Jersey)

Hey James,I was wondering what you think the Steelers should do Sunday Night, try and throw against a depleted secondary (especially now with Fabian Washington out), even with Ben's concussion, or if they should try and run against an always-tough Raven defense that never lets us run. Also, do you expect to see some wildcat with Dennis Dixon to try and throw them off?

James Walker
  (4:24 PM)

If Ben Roethlisberger plays, I think Pittsburgh should definitely challenge Baltimore's secondary. The Ravens played well against the Colts, but Peyton Manning still threw for 299 yards last week. It will be interesting to see how the secondary responds with Washington out. He was part of the reason Baltimore was struggling.

James Walker
  (4:24 PM)

I'm not sure about the Wildcat. The Steelers have said in the past that they have no interest in running that style of offense. But that was a long time ago in training camp.

Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)

Is it safe and/or fair to label Brian Robiskie as a collosal bust, potentially the biggest of the draft? Though it's tough to call a 2nd round pick the bust of the draft, he was a high 2nd round pick on a team that needed immediate contributions. He has one catch all season.

James Walker
  (4:28 PM)

I'm into giving out the "bust" label 10 games into Year 1. That's especially the case for second-round picks. I just think it takes more time for receivers to come along and Robiskie came into a situation that doesn't fit him. He never looked comfortable in Cleveland's offense from the start. I think it's both him and a combination of the system.

Jermaine (Detroit)

Welcome back guys! I just have one question. Will the Lions make the playoffs next season? Come on give them some love. At least they beat Cleveland.

James Walker
  (4:29 PM)

C'mon, man!

john (cincinnti)

Are the bengals a legitiment playoff team that can win and go deep into the playoffs? I thought so, but I'm concerned right now. Lose to the Raiders... really? Good teams blow teams like that away early and move on.

James Walker
  (4:30 PM)

I think the Bengals will be a tough matchup for a lot of teams. After so much losing, we saw last week they are still learning how to be winners. Sometimes success takes away focus, and I think that's why they were so sloppy against the Oakland Raiders. So it will be interesting to see how they bounce back against another bad team in Cleveland.

Brad (Baltimore)

What is it going to cost the Ravens to resign Gaither? Just 23, he's already an elite pass blocker, having the 2nd best pressures allowed.

James Walker
  (4:32 PM)

Good question, Brad. Jared Gaither changed agents recently so you know a big payday is on his mind. One big issue will be potential labor strife. He may be restricted free agent next year if a new CBA isn't reach. That will make things interesting.

Sean (Hoboken)

What's going on with the Broncos? Is the ship now sinking ? Thoughts on Knowshon and their ground game. please.

James Walker
  (4:36 PM)

I've seen and followed the Broncos close up, because they've already played every AFC North team. I must say I wasn't impressed with them even when they were winning. I think they're too much of a finesse team--small on defense, smoke and mirrors on offense. The Steelers and Ravens absolutely beat them up. When it gets late in the year and the elements play a factor, the tougher, more smash-mouth teams usually prevail. I think that's why the Broncos are falling behind the pack.

Larry (Tiffin, OH)

To put the Browns decision making in perspective, both Brian Robiskie and David Veikune were inactive on Sunday. Thats 2 of their 3 second round picks in 2009. On a 1-9 squad that's inexplicable isn't it?

James Walker
  (4:38 PM)

I understand what's going on with Robiskie. I have no idea what's the deal with David Veikune. The team likes Kaluka Maiva a lot more right now, so Veikune isn't doing something right in practice.

Chris (Ann Arbor, MI)

Why do the Steelers continue to use that little #11 dude to cover kicks? He's always blocked way out of the play, and I've never seen him make a tackle...

James Walker
  (4:40 PM)

Little No. 11 is Stefan Logan. And, yes, I think he should be one of the first players taken off the kick coverage team. I've stood next to him plenty of times, and I might be bigger. I'm definitely taller. So I can't see why the Steelers expect him to shed these big blockers and make tackles downfield.

Jermaine (Detroit)

Are the Mannings the best Qbs in the NFL?

James Walker
  (4:42 PM)

Peyton is elite. I've never been a big Eli guy. Search some of my debates with NFC East blogger Matt Mosely, who thinks Eli is the greatest QB ever. They're very entertaining (and one-sided in my favor).

James Walker
  (4:44 PM)

FYI the Steelers just signed CB Corey Ivy and LB Rocky Boiman. This appears to be moves to help boost the special teams.

James Walker
  (4:45 PM)

The two players released were CB Keiwan Ratliff and LB Donovan Woods

Patrick (Clovis, CA)

Do the Bengals have a legitimate chance of making it to the playoffs or perhaps the super bowl?

James Walker
  (4:47 PM)

They have a great chance to make the playoffs. Cincinnati has an easy schedule down the stretch. But in terms of getting to the Super Bowl, it will depend on matchups. There are a lot of good teams in the AFC. I think there are a few that would give the Bengals a lot of headaches.

James Walker
  (4:47 PM)

They have a great chance to make the playoffs. Cincinnati has an easy schedule down the stretch. But in terms of getting to the Super Bowl, it will depend on matchups. There are a lot of good teams in the AFC. I think there are a few that would give the Bengals a lot of headaches.

Pete (Cincy)

Bigger waste of 2nd rd pick Cle- Robiske or Cin- Simpson?

James Walker
  (4:47 PM)

Right now Jerome Simpson. I've seen two years of him with no production.

bill (cincy)

Do you think the bengals are considering using ced and lj in the same backfield on short yardage

James Walker
  (4:49 PM)

No, that's not in the plans right now. If Cedric Benson comes back this week, my guess is Larry Johnson could be inactive as he continues to learn the system.

greg (Baltimore md)

Hey james do you the Baltimore Ravens will make the playoffs?

James Walker
  (4:51 PM)

I examined that last week with all the AFC North teams, and Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. put the Ravens chances at about 30-40 percent. I would agree with those odds. The Ravens will have to go at least 4-2 and maybe 5-1 to have a shot. This team hasn't been that consistent all season.

ron (westlake, oh)

who has/had more fan hostility? Butch Davis or Eric Mangni?

James Walker
  (4:53 PM)

I lived in Ohio but was covering the Bengals during the Butch Davis years. So I'm not sure what levels were there at that time. But I find it hard to imagine the hostility being higher from fans than it is right now.

ryan (maine)

I know this is isn't fantasy, but i need help deciding which 3 recievers to start. i have sims-walker, driver, s. smith (nyg), braylon and burleson. which 3 should i go with?

James Walker
  (4:57 PM)

You definitely have to go with Driver. The Lions may have the worst defense in the NFL. From there it's tough. The Jets are at home, so take Edwards. The Giants may have their act together so take Smith.

chris shumney (cleveland, OH)

Can you please give me a bright spot to look for in the cleveland browns? Thanks

James Walker
  (4:58 PM)

Brady Quinn had the game of his career last week. He showed a lot of promise. You're not excited about that, Chris?

Dave (Lancaster PA)

The way it looks to me is that if you don't win your division in the AFC you may need a 11-5 record to secure a wildcard spot. What are your thoughts?

James Walker
  (5:00 PM)

That was the magic number last year. But I think 10 is the magic number this year. Someone will get the final seed with 10 wins. The wild card teams in the AFC aren't nearly as good as last year's, in my opinion.

James Walker
  (5:01 PM)

Everyone, thanks for your time. Enjoy the holidays and check out the AFC North blog during the week.