NFL Wrap-Up: Week 9 North Divisions

The Steelers and Ravens show once again why theirs is the best rivalry in football.

Nash Herringtonby Nash Herrington

Aaron Rodgers is making opposing secondaries look like pee-wee teams, the Packer secondary comes up big in the clutch, a Steelers Linebacker has a big night as he returns to action, and a rookie Quarterback/Receiver combination in Cincinnati continue to impress in week 9.  And the Browns…..still look like the Browns…..

NFC North

Minnesota Vikings (2-6) had a bye this week.  They will travel to Green Bay to take on the undefeated Packers in week 10.

Detroit Lions (6-2) had a bye this week.  The lions will go on the road to face the Chicago Bears in week 10.

Chicago Bears (4-3) do battle with the Philadelphia Eagles tonight on Monday Night Football on ESPN at 8:30pm EST.

Green Bay Packers  45
San Diego Chargers  38

Even though the Packers defense gave up some big numbers to the Chargers offense (460 total yards, 5 touchdowns)  the secondary came up big, returning two interceptions for touchdowns in the first quarter and adding a third INT late in the 4th to seal the victory for Green Bay.  Aaron Rodgers had another typical Aaron Rodgers type of day (21/26 247 yards, 4TDs) in leadiing the still undefeated Packers to the victory.


AFC North

Cleveland Browns  12
Houston Texans  30

With both Quarterbacks in this match-up being non-factors, it was a tale of the running game in this contest.  That didn't bode well for the Browns as they were missing both of their top running backs and had to go to Chris Ogbannaya who only gained 28 yards rushing while Texans ran for 261 yards and three touchdowns.

Cincinnati Bengals 24
Tennessee Titans 17

Rookie quarterback Andy Dalton (22/39 217 yards 3TDs) looked like a savvy veteran as he led the 6-2 Bengals to their fifth straight victory.  Dalton completed passes to six different receivers and continued to find rookie receiver A.J. Green, completing seven passes for 83 yards including some huge plays during the Bengals' late drives in their comeback win.


Game of the Week
Baltimore Ravens  23
Pittsburgh Steelers  20

Come on, did you really expect anything less from these two teams??  This game was a tale of two halves as both teams had to settle for field goals in the first half, going into halftime with the Ravens up 9-6.  In the second half both teams were able to move the ball on offense, each team finding the end-zone twice including two late touchdown drives by the Steelers to take the lead only to give up a 12 play, 92 yard drive to the Ravens with two minutes left culminating in a 26 yard touchdown strike from Joe Flacco to Torrey Smith with only seconds remaining.
– Ravens WR Torrey Smith (71 yards, 1 TD) dropped a 37 yard pass in the end-zone  that would have given the Ravens the lead, but Flacco went back to Smith four plays later for the game winning touchdown.
– Neither team gained more than 70 rushing yards with Rashard Mendenhall leading all rushers with 52 yards and a touchdown.  Both quarterbacks in this game threw for over 300 yards.
– The Ravens have swept the season series over the Steelers for the first time since 2006.

Offensive Player of the Week
Aaron Rodgers GB 21/26, 247 yards 4TD
Rodgers has been efficient in leading the Packers to an undefeated record so far this season and this game against the Chargers was no different as he carved apart the Charger defense.  It's possible that Rodgers could have had an even more impressive day had the Packer defense not returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
Runner up – Andy Dalton 217 yards, 3 touchdowns

Defensive Player of the Week
James Harrison PIT 8 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Harrison returned from an orbital bone fracture earlier this season to wreak havoc on Joe Flacco and the Steelers needed it.  With LBs Lamarr Woodley and James Farrior out of the game, the Ravens double teamed Harrison all night but the four time Pro-Bowler still had his way with the Ravens tackles.
Runner up – Charlie Peprah GB (5 tackles(3 solo), 2 INTs, 1 TD), Tramon Williams GB (6 tackles(5 solo), 1INT returned for a touchdown


Division Standings

NFC North
Green Bay Packers 8-0
Detroit Lions 6-2
Chicago Bears 4-3
Minnesota Vikings 2-6

AFC North
Baltimore Ravens 6-2
Cincinnati Bengals 6-2
Pittsburgh Steelers 6-3
Cleveland Browns 3-5