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Ravens Move Up in the Wildcard Race, Steelers Grab Third Straight Win

While the Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) enjoyed a late bye week, the rest of the AFC North teams played on and made some changes in the standings after they all entered the week with four wins.

Joe Flacco

Joe Flacco

For the Baltimore Ravens (5-6) its long passing game and defense showed up, enabling them to defeat the New York Jets (5-6), 19-3. One of the game’s key plays came in the third quarter as the Ravens led 12-3. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco hit wide receiver Jacoby Jones with a 66-yard touchdown pass to take a 19-3 lead and nail the win.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of the play via the Associated Press, “It was probably the play of the game for us. The ball got up there and got caught in the wind. If you saw it, it was being pushed that way. I thought once it got up in the air and the wind got it, I didn’t think Jacoby was going to be able to get it. He shifted into another gear and he went and got that ball — just an amazing play. And then for him to reach out and catch it and keep his balance, just a tremendous, athletic play.”

The Ravens and Flacco had been missing its deep passing game but it returned on Sunday in full force. According to ESPN Stats, Flacco had 2 of 3 pass completions at 30-plus yards deep for 126 yards and one touchdown versus the Jets. Prior to Sunday’s game, he went 4 for 17 and one pick for these throws in 2013.

For the day, Flacco had 273 passing yards, the one score and one interception.

The Ravens defense had a good day, giving up a season-low 220 yards and only allowing three points–the lowest in four seasons. It also had three forced turnovers and held the Jets to no scoring in the game’s last 51 minutes, 52 seconds.

Factor in Justin Tucker’s four-field goal game and this was really a team effort for Sunday’s win.

And now the Ravens are in the AFC wild card race, tied for the last spot. They sit with five other AFC teams at 5-6 and if the season concluded today, the Tennessee Titans (5-6) would grab the sixth seed. The Ravens sit behind them and division foe, the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-6), after their October loss.

On Thursday, the two teams will meet as the Ravens will hope for a series split. Vegas thinks it will happen (-3, 40.5 o/u).

As for the 2014 Super Bowl, the Ravens sit at 50/1 to win it.

With the Jets, they have now lost two consecutive games and questions are swirling about Geno Smith as the team’s quarterback. In Sunday’s game, he went 9 for 22, 127 yards and two interceptions.

Pittsburgh defeats Cleveland, 27-11

On Sunday, the Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns (4-7) 27-11 and now have a nice three-game win streak going. This comes after their 0-4 start to the season and now they’re on a playoff push.

It was also a team effort by the Steelers on Sunday beginning with the defense’s four forced turnovers and a great job by its offensive line controlling the Browns’ defensive front.

Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went 22 for 34, 217 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions and zero sacks. For the day, he had a 102.2 passer rating.

Roethlisberger is now 16-1 against the Browns.

Rookie running back Le’Veon Bell had 23 carries for 80 yards and wide receiver Antonio Brown had six receptions for 92 yards and one touchdown.

As for the Browns, they continue playing quarterback roulette. Jason Campbell started the game but got knocked out in the third quarter with a concussion. Enter Brandon Weeden, who was greeted by boos; he only added one touchdown in the fourth quarter when the Browns were already down 27-3.

He resume the starting role and on Sunday, the Browns will the play the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) and get the win (-7.5, 40.5 o/u).

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