ANTONIO BROWN was offensive MVP against the Buffalo Bills with 6 catches for 104 yards. (Courier Photo by William McBride)
At one time the AFC North Division was the strongest in the NFL but now it may be the weakest. But that may be a good thing for the Steelers, because even with a 3-6 record they are still in the race for the division title.
When the season started the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens were supposed to take it all, but once the season got underway it was supposed to be the Cincinnati Bengals. But after week 10 it appears nobody really wants the title.
The Bengals could have had control of their destiny last week but instead lost to the Raven 20-17 in an overtime game that was almost as pitiful as the Steelers Buffalo Bills game. The loss dropped the Bengals to 6-4, while the Ravens moved up to 4-5 tying them with the Cleveland Browns who were resting during their bye week.
The Steelers defense looked better than it has all season after becoming totally unglued against the Tom Brady led New England Patriots last week. The entire defense looked great, completely shutting down the outstanding running game of the Bills. The Steelers was ranked 29th against the run going into the game against the 4th ranked Bills running game.
Antonio Brown, after being benched last week, was without a doubt the most valuable player on the offensive side of the ball as he kept his NFL lead in reception with 5 catches for 104 yards pulling him up to 67 receptions for the season, with 805 yards. But he was even more impressive on punt returns with two 37 yard returns setting up the offense in good field position which led to scores.
Otherwise the offense pretty much played just good enough to beat a team with a rookie quarterback, E. J. Manual, who had just returned from an injury and was still rustry. Ben Roethlisberger was 18 for 30 with 204 yards. Le’Veon Bell had 57 yards on 22 carries.
This week the Steelers will try to stay on the winning track against one of the best young teams in the NFL when they face the Detroit Lions who are on top of the NFC North fresh off a victory over division rival the Chicago Bears. Matthew Stafford is having the best season of his young career. He was 18 of 35 for 219 yards with 3 touchdowns against the Bears, and 229 of 373 for 2836 yards on the season.
However the big difference for the much improved team this season is the acquisition of Reggie Bush. He picked up 105 yards on 14 carries in the victory over the Bears. Joining Bush in the backfield will be power runner Joique Bell who had 41 yards on 10 carries. Calvin Johnson, who is one of the best receivers in the game, is the man the Steelers must stop. He had 6 catches for 83 yards against Chicago. He has 53 receptions for 904 yards for the season.
If the Browns can upset the Bengals this weekend and the Steelers can get past the Lions, Pittsburgh would only be one game out of first. Can you believe it?
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