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By Matt Vensel | October 25, 2011
Lost in that mess down in Jacksonville was that the Ravens defense delivered another fine performance, one that helped them pass the idle Cincinnati Bengals and reclaim the NFL's top spot in yards allowed per game. Interestingly enough, the NFL's top four teams in total defense all hail from the AFC North. Baltimore is first with 272.7 yards allowed per game, followed by Cincinnati, (278.5), Pittsburgh (279) and Cleveland (291). It's no wonder the AFC North is the only division with all four teams at or above the .500 mark.
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By Aaron Wilson and The Baltimore Sun | October 11, 2014
The Cincinnati Bengals ran into a buzz saw named Tom Brady last Sunday night during an ugly loss to the New England Patriots. The 43-17 blowout raised questions about the Bengals' ability to defend elite offenses without injured Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict in the lineup. The Patriots piled up 505 yards of total offense against a Cincinnati defense that entered last week having allowed the fewest points in the NFL. In their first loss of the season, the Bengals (3-1) struggled mightily to contain Patriots tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Tim Wright, who had a combined 11 catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
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By Baltimore Sun | April 23, 2010
Cincinnati Bengals Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma (1st round, 21st overall) Cleveland Browns Joe Haden, CB, Florida (1st round, 7th overall) Pittsburgh Steelers Maurkice Pouncey, OL, Florida (1st round, 18th overall)
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Mike Preston | September 15, 2014
Congratulations to Cleveland Browns fans. They finally have a competitive team back in the National Football League. The Browns were on that level in December 2002, the last time they went to the playoffs. Of course, they lost in the first round to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but after two weeks of the 2014 season, Cleveland is making the AFC North race interesting. The Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) are still the favorite to repeat as division champions, but the other three teams - Ravens, Browns, Steelers - have split their first two games.
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The Baltimore Sun | April 26, 2013
Here's who the Ravens' AFC North rivals have selected thus far in the 2013 NFL draft. Cleveland Browns Round 1, pick 6: LSU DE Barkevious Mingo Pittsburgh Steelers Round 1, pick 17: Georgia LB Jarvis Jones Cincinnati Bengals Round 1, Pick 21: Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert   What they're saying about the AFC North teams' first-round picks --Terry Pluto of The Cleveland Plain...
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By Mike Preston and The Baltimore Sun | September 28, 2012
The AFC North is starting to become a great division for quarterback play. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton made a name for himself as a rookie last season, and Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden was impressive Thursday night, completing 25 of 52 passes for 320 yards and a touchdown. If the Browns had better receivers and players who could hold onto the ball, they might have upset the Ravens. Before the game, the Browns had dropped 11 passes in the first three games and they added at least another three or four Thursday night.  This Weeden kid played well and showed a lot of poise. Combined with Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger and the Ravens' Joe Flacco, there could be some good shootouts coming up.
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By Matt Vensel and The Baltimore Sun | February 27, 2012
At this point, it seems pretty likely that the St. Louis Rams, who have former No. 1 pick Sam Bradford at quarterback, will trade the No. 2 overall pick in April's draft to a QB-needy team. A bunch of teams will likely show interest, jacking up the price for the pick and giving the Rams enough incentive to move out of that prime draft position. So which team can give St. Louis the biggest haul for the right to draft Robert Griffin III? The Cleveland Browns, who have gotten uneven play from Colt McCoy, have given mixed messages about their plans -- it shouldn't surprise anyone that they are playing coy -- but they appear to have the best package of draft picks to make a deal happen.
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By Matt Vensel and The Baltimore Sun | September 4, 2012
With three teams making the playoffs and two winning 12 games during the regular season, the AFC North was arguably the NFL's most competitive division last season. Unfortunately for the Ravens, it figures to be hyper-competitive again in 2012 -- well, except for anything involving the ever-rebuilding Cleveland Browns. The Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers both experienced some losses during the offseason, but they don't appear to be heading for a huge drop-off this season and both teams are popular picks to win the AFC North.
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By Jeff Zrebiec and The Baltimore Sun | December 17, 2012
Having already clinched a playoff berth, the Ravens could secure a second straight AFC North crown with a victory over the New York Giants Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens' lead in their division was cut to one game after yesterday's 34-17 loss to the Denver Broncos. That result came three days after the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Philadelphia Eagles to improve to 8-6 on the season. Losers of three straight, the Ravens are 9-5. However, any one victory for the Ravens over their next two games will give them the division crown and no worse than the fourth seed in the AFC playoffs.
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By Matt Vensel | July 18, 2011
I guess Ray Lewis was right when he said that crime in the AFC North would go up during the NFL lockout. OK, that isn't exactly what he said, but whatever. Four players from the division have been arrested in the past 10 days, pulling the AFC North into five-way tie for arrests since the lockout started on March 11. The AFC West, AFC South, NFC North and NFC East each have four arrests apiece , but the AFC North had none before Steelers receiver Hines Ward was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence on July 9. Then the Bengals started being the Bengals, and next thing you know, the AFC North was back in this thing.
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By Aaron Wilson and The Baltimore Sun | September 9, 2014
Emotional about Ray Rice's release and still stinging from a season-opening defeat, the Ravens play AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers in two days. The quick turnaround looms for the Ravens following a disappointing game Sunday in which they lost, 23-16, to the Cincinnati Bengals. The potential of falling into an 0-2 hole in the division makes the Steelers game a pivitol one for a team that just dismissed one of its top players. "It was a tough loss," veteran defensive end Chris Canty said.
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By Jon Meoli and The Baltimore Sun | September 4, 2014
Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said Thursday that he's dealing with Week 1 nerves just like his players are, but if there was ever a team he wouldn't mind breaking in his new offense against, the Cincinnati Bengals might be it. Kubiak was 8-2 in seven seasons as the Houston Texans' head coach against the Ravens' AFC North rivals, including five wins against the Bengals, against whom the Ravens open their season on Sunday. This deserves all the usual qualifiers, including how Kubiak's system stalled out last year in Houston and how much the Bengals defense has improved since he last played them.
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By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun | September 1, 2014
About eight months ago, the Ravens trudged off the field at Paul Brown Stadium, a 34-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals bringing an end to their season and their streak of five consecutive playoff appearances. Ravens coach John Harbaugh and his players have grown tired of hearing about the disappointing 2013 campaign. The 2014 Ravens are a completely different team, they say. The coaching staff has been overhauled. Some veterans moved on, and rookies and second-year players were elevated into starting roles.
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By Jeff Zrebiec and The Baltimore Sun | June 30, 2014
As the Ravens await NFL commissioner  Roger Goodell's  ruling on  Ray Rice's   discipline, it's becoming more apparent that they won't be alone in going with the running back by committee approach during Rice's absence. There is wide-ranging opinion on how long Rice will be suspended for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy with his actions during a physical confrontation with his then fiancee and now wife in February. But it's certainly not impossible - and some view it as probable - that Rice is suspended for at least the first three games.
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By Jeff Zrebiec | April 23, 2014
It won't take very long into the 2014 season for the Ravens to see where they stand in the AFC North. The NFL released the regular-season schedule Wednesday and it will begin for the Ravens with three divisional games, including two in a five-day span. The Ravens will open up the 2014 campaign with back-to-back home games against the reigning AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 7 and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 11. They'll finish that divisional stretch with a road game against the Cleveland Browns on Sept.
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By Aaron Wilson, The Baltimore Sun | December 28, 2013
The last time Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton squared off against the Ravens' defense, he left M&T Bank Stadium thoroughly flustered. Dalton was harassed into several mistakes, including three interceptions, and was sacked five times. Although he finished the Ravens' 20-17 overtime victory on Nov. 10 with 274 passing yards and two touchdowns, he completed just 24 of 51 passes, a season-low 47.1 completion percentage. Now, Dalton is looking like an altogether different quarterback for the AFC North division champion Bengals heading into Sunday's regular season finale against the Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium.
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By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun | November 2, 2013
The logic was sound. The Ravens were the defending Super Bowl champions and hadn't missed the playoffs since 2007. The Cincinnati Bengals made the playoffs in consecutive seasons and were poised to take the next step. The Pittsburgh Steelers haven't had a losing season since 2003, so they wouldn't be mediocre for long. And the Cleveland Browns, well, they were still the Browns and in the midst of another rebuilding project. When the regular season started eight weeks ago, plenty of pundits labeled the AFC North one of the top divisions in the NFL. However, as the season reaches its midpoint this weekend, three of the four teams in the division find themselves headed in the wrong direction.
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Peter Schmuck | December 1, 2013
It has been a snakebit season for the Ravens, but if they make it into the playoffs, they'll remember Week 13 - of all numerical designations - as the point when their luck changed for the better in a big way. Of course, it started with their two-point victory over the Steelers on Thanksgiving night, and every game against their most bitter rival seems to come down to one dramatic play. The win lifted them to .500 for the first time since mid-October and put their postseason fate in their own hands, but there's no crime in accepting a little help along the way. The Ravens got quite a bit of it on Sunday.
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Peter Schmuck | November 19, 2013
In the perfect NFL world - at least from a marketing standpoint - every one of the 32 teams would still be in playoff contention in mid-December. The only question is whether there comes a point when parity becomes parody. I think we have our answer. The Ravens fell to 4-6 with their weather-delayed, overtime loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday in what was cast as another in a long series of must-win games which we have come to find out they really didn't have to win. Turns out, the Ravens are in pretty good shape in the race for the second AFC wild-card spot when you consider that there are only two teams other than the co-leaders in the West that are as good as 5-5. The Ravens play one of them (the New York Jets)
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