November 4, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Rueben Randle (82) is unable to catch a pass in the end zone while defended by Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis (23) during the third quarter of an NFL game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

Scouting the AFC North: Should Steelers be Favored to Win Division?



Head Coach Mike Tomlin said today that Pro Bowl receiver Antonio Brown (ankle) is doubtful to play in Monday night’s game against the Chiefs.  also said today that he expects starting OT Marcus Gilbert (ankle) and safety Troy Polamalu (calf) will be out another week, but could see limited work in practice as a possibility for both as he looks to get his team healthy for a run at the AFC North crown. The Steelers are just one game back of the division leading Baltimore Ravens and face them twice in the next four weeks.


Speaking of the Ravens, they are now 26th in total defense, 28th against the run, and 22nd against the pass. Their offense isn’t much better, ranking 19th overall, 16th in rushing, and 15th in passing. Their past seven games haven’t been decided by a margin over 10 points, including a 3-point victory over the Chiefs, a 2-point win over Dallas, and 7 and 10-point wins over the lowly Browns. It may be safe to say they have gotten the benefit of an easy first-half schedule, and may not only be fighting to keep their spot atop the AFC North, but just to ensure they’ll be in the postseason with a second-half schedule that includes games vs. the Broncos, Giants, Chargers, and two games against the Steelers.


ESPN’s weekly power rankings saw the AFC North have two teams in the top-10 with the Ravens at #7, the Steelers at #10. The Bengals have fallen 11 spots during their four-game losing streak to #26, while the Browns are sitting at #30, despite winning two of the past four games after starting the year 0-5.


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