Welcome to our weekly chat. I'll be at the Browns-Steelers game on Thursday night and I will be covering the Texans-Bengals game on Sunday. So busy week for the division. Let's kick the chat off ...
What do you think the Bengals will go for in the 2012 Draft?
Shane: This is a Bengals question from 2010, not 2011. Your team is in the playoff hunt. Ask playoff questions, not draft ones.
What is your take on Andy Dalton vs. Cam Newton?
Newton is an amazing, off-the-chart athlete. Dalton is your protoypical quarterback. Both will be successful, based on their rookie seasons. Dalton, of course, has the luxury of growing along with A.J. Green.
Hey Jamison,Love the blog. Colt McCoy's numbers in the division are not promising. What are the other three Division QB ratings in division games like? Obviously 47% completion wont win us games, but do other QBs struggle in our division as well?Thanks,Eric
Eric: Dalton has struggled in the division, too. He is completing half of his throws with four touchdowns and five interceptions (I'm pretty sure those are the right numbers). The AFC North is tough for most quarterbacks, especially young ones.
Joe Flacco has proven he can win consistently in the NFL, however, his play isn't what I consider to be elite. Do you feel Joe Flacco can overcome his history of poor playoff performances and beat elite opponents when it counts?
Andy: That's the big question. Flacco is going to have to step in the playoffs against the Steelers, Texans or Patriots if the Ravens want to get to that Super Bowl. He has shown that he is capable. Just look at his past two regular-season trips to Pittsburgh. But the concern is that he could have a game like the one in Jacksonville.
How haven't your IT fixed the chat yet? Its still navigating away when you try to make a post! Either way though I wanted to say that you reporting on the AFC North has been great so far. Do you see the Chargers game a potential trap for the Ravens?
Any game on the road is a challenge for the Ravens. They struggled at Seattle, Jacksonville and Tennessee. Don't see it as a trap game because the Ravens realize the Chargers have a lot of talent. They have a bad record, but they're not the Seahawks. But this is the second-toughest game on the Ravens' remaining schedule.
Jamison, True or False - Only the Steelers and Ravens can beat the Packers in the SB.
Absolutely true. Patriots' defense won't be able to contain Aaron Rodgers, the offenses from the Texans and Broncos won't be able to convert third downs against Packers with T.J. Yates and Tim Tebow at quarterback.
We find it hilarious that you find that the Steelers are better than the Ravens this year. Once the Ravens lose to a team with a winning record (teams that are in the playoffs) then come talk to us.
Read the blog and then come talk to me. Never said the Steelers were the better team. In the blog, I said the Ravens can make the argument that they are the best team in the AFC based on their wins (it's in there, you can take a look). My point is that the Steelers have won games with offense, defense and special teams. The Ravens have been woefully inconsistent on offense and special teams. Pittsburgh has been better in all three phases. But I never said the Steelers were the better team.
You heard it here first - The Pats do NOT have a cupcake schedule, in fact they will lose two games down the stretch, one to the Broncos (in Denver), and the other to either the Dolphins or Bills. I'd include the Redskins, because they can play defense, but I don't see Grossman putting up numbers, even against this horrific Pats defense.
As a Ravens fan I would love for the Browns to upset the Steelers tomorrow. Since the Steelers are a passing team now and the Browns have good corners what are the chances the Browns can pull it off....at least on the defensive side
The problem is Franco Harris could gain 100 yards against the Browns defense these days.
Has Ziggy Hood improved this year as a DE??
Chuck: Not sure if he has dramatically improved. But he has made an impact this year. Another young guy to keep an eye on is Cam Heyward.
What are ur thoughts on AJ Green? Get some more muscle on this kid, and he could be close to Megatron status in a few years, his route running, hands and ability to go up and get the ball are incredible and he's only a rookie, what do u think?
A.J. Green is a special talent. Young wide receivers will be getting compared to him in a couple of years. He is one of those WRs that you can trust and throw the ball up to, and know he is going to come down with it.
Hey Jamison, Love the blog. Out of all the young talent on Baltimore, who do you think has the brightest future? What about in the entire AFC North?
Charles: Extremely tough to project at this point. Obviously, Cincy is set on offense with a young QB and WR. Bengals still need to address RB. The Ravens are still young with Flacco and Rice. Plus, this draft class has been very, very good. Pittsburgh has underrated rookies in Marcus Gilbert and Cam Heyward. The Browns have a young foundation on defense, but they need an overhaul on offense. So, to answer your question, there's a lot of young talent spread throughout the AFC North.
What do think about the Thursday night Browns Steelers game? The Steelers are a pass happy offense and the Browns defense defends the pass pretty well? Can we expect an upset or just another reason for me to nap?
Snooze time. It will be tough for the Browns to win when they can't stop the run and can't make big plays downfield.
Is Jimmy Smith the key for a Super Bowl run?
Not a key but he could definitely be a factor. Smith has great ball skills, but he is making rookie mistakes, too. But you have to like Smith-Webb combo.
When the Ravens already have a playoff spot clinched, and the Bengals possibly fighting for a spot, do you think the Ravens rest starters, or will they try to eliminate a division rival?
Bobcatrunner: The Ravens will do what's best for their team. Baltimore has always rested its starters when given the chance. Just look at the past few preseason finales. If the Ravens have clinched the division and can't improve with a victory, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Anquan Boldin will have an extra bye week.
Will Chuck Pagano be a head coach next year?
No, too early. But he has done an outstanding job. He has returned the pressure packages to the Ravens defense.
Why is ESPN so fatuated with Tebow? You guys have been drooling over this guy since he was in College. My goodness Skip Bayless acts as if Tebow is the second coming of Christ. It seems every time I turn on ESPN there he is and you guys whinning that Elway doesn't think he is the quarterback of their future like Tebow is entitled to be the Future. Give it a break already and please give us a break from hearing about this guy.
It's simple supply equals demand. Like Tebow or not, people are infatuated with him. ESPN is only giving fans what they want.
You take the browns out of the North and this division is solid. What are the top 3 positions the Browns need to address in the offseason?
WR, LB and the entire right side of the offensive line.
Do you think the Steelers can make it to the Super Bowl if they have to go on the road during the playoffs?
Not impossible but not probable. It would be tough to win in Baltimore. The Ravens are playing at another level at home.
Which of the remaining games on the Ravens schedule do you think they are most likely to lose? Will it be against the Chargers on the road or a potential trap game against Cincy?
Adam: The Ravens traditionally don't travel well to Cincy. So, history says Cincy.
Is Hardesty this bad or does he need a change of scenery? I mean he was a top draft pick 2 years ago, is he just in the wrong offense or is it just because it is a terrible one?
Randy: Hardesty needs to get healthy. I still want to see what he can do for an extended period. Problem is he's never healthy. But he's proven that you can't throw the ball to him.
What are your thoughts on who the Browns will draft next year? I am hearing a lot about Trent Richardson.
For an offense needing playmakers, Richardson would make a lot of sense. He would be the best player available toward the bottom end of top 10. But I haven't been a big fan of taking RBs that high. Still, he looks awfully good.
IF the steelers and ravens cross paths againin the playoffs, is it reasonable to think that baltimore can beat pittsburgh three times in one season? With how the past two games played out, I can't see pittsburgh dropping a third. your thoughts??
Ravens has a good shot at beating Pittsburgh three times if the third time is at M&T Bank Stadium. Ravens have awful shot at doing it if it's at Heinz Field.
Hard for me to admit this as a life-long Steeler fan, but hands down T-Sizzle is the defensive MVP this year. Other players may have better stats but no one has had more of an impact than and been a better representative from Ball So Hard University. Can you think of anyone better?
Suggs is my pick, but Jared Allen, Patrick Willis (who is now hurt) and DeMarcus Ware all have had strong seasons.
Sitting here at my desk thinking about the playoffs but not overlooking any team on our schedule. Other than the Steelers and Patriots, who is the one team we (the Ravens) don't want to face in the playoffs.
Those are the only two.
I know you won't give predictions yet but do you like Cincy's chances on Sunday?
Key is run defense. Bengals have been surprisingly shaky lately there. That's the entire Texans offense if Andre Johnson doesn't play.
How much does losing Chris Hoke hurt the Steelers defense?
Not much. He was inactive a lot recently. Steve McLendon has been the backup NT for most of the season.
Hey, JH, maybe you should point out to Rick from Kansas that Tebow didn't come up in this chat until he brought him up. The haters play into his airtime as much as his supporters.
Zimmer and Gruden, both in Cincy, both head coaches, or one stays and the other is gone?
I think both stay this year. But if I had to pick one, Gruden would be the one to go. Jacksonville could take a chance on him.
After getting slaughtered in the 2nd quarter last Sunday, did the Bengals just pack it up and live to fight another day?
Tony: Wouldn't say that. Bengals just didn't seem to have the confidence that they usually have when trailing at halftime. By the fourth quarter, the white flag was up.
Was there anything about McPhee that had him drop in the Draft to the 5th Round? Could turn into a monster steal...
Eric: He doesn't have the measurables, which is why he dropped. But since putting on the pads, he simply has outworked opponents.
To what do you attribute the Steelers' surprisingly improved pass defense this year?
Secondary coach Carnell Lake. He has been the top assistant (not coordinator) in the AFC North this year.
I think the key to the Ravens winning a Superbowl is the performance of Joe Flacco. He's just to inconsistent in the playoffs for me, I'm a big Ravens fan. What do you think is the key for the Ravens to win the Super Bowl?
Ron: You said it. It's Flacco. The defense is championship-caliber. And Rice is a fine playmaker. But this is a quarterback-driven league and Flacco will need to step up. The offense has been the reason why the Ravens have stumbled in the playoffs the past three years.
Do you think Brown is Ben's go to guy over Wallace or has Brown just been the flavor of the last two weeks?
Randy: Teams are doubling Wallace, so it frees up Brown. That's what makes the Steelers so dangerous. They have two wide receivers who can make short catches and turn them into big gains.
Given how the Ravens have been playing down to their opponents' level, is this somehow the Colts' best shot at avoiding 0-16?
No way. Ravens have struggled against lesser opponents on the road. Outside of a scare against Arizona, the Ravens have been dominant at home -- against good teams and bad ones.
Do you see any potential dark horses (AFC or NFC) that could make a Super Bowl run?
Ryan: I really don't. I think there are four teams that are above everyone else: Packers, Ravens, Steelers and Saints. If there is anyone in the Super Bowl other than two of these teams, I would be surprised.
Do most poeple look past the impact Paul Kruger is having on the Ravens defense. Personally I believe per plays played, he may be leading the Ravens defense in sacks per play. Your take?
Rodney: It would either be Kruger or McPhee on sacks per play. Kruger has finally stepped up this season. His improved play is the reason why Sergio Kindle is on the bench.
Good Afternoon! Do you believe the Bengals can when out? And what is your thoughts on who will be the wildcard in the AFC?
Dave: The key will be the game against Houston. If the Bengals can stop the run, they will win. I see Cincy winning the next two after Houston. So, a win Sunday and those next two wins would give the Bengals 10 for the season. That's the magic playoff number.
Thank you for all the great questions. Let's do this again next week at the same time. Hope everyone enjoys the Thursday night game.