Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
We have to do "Voice of the People" blogs daily with the amount of letters we're currently getting in our AFC North inbox!
In an effort to get as many voices heard before this weekend's games, here is more of what ESPN.com readers have to say:
On the Baltimore Ravens ...
Jordan from Baltimore writes: Haven't sent a comment in a while, mostly which means I think your coverage has been fair, balanced and great. I think it's great to see the Ravens in this game. What everyone seems to overlook is that the Ravens Gamebreakers don't go this long being this silent. Specifically I'm talking about Ray Lewis. He goes through droughts of not making huge plays, but with all the criticism of the team being tired and not able to fight through this week Ray Lewis is the guy to watch this weekend. The Steelers are going to move away from Reed, and that leaves Lewis over the middle in the run and short pass that I think is going to really put the Ravens over the top. Even Matt Mosely of the NFC Blog fears him. He picked Harrison over Lewis in a chat, and had to give a reason, but picked three other players and didn't give a reason. Ahmad Hall should remind everyone the impact Lewis has. Not only did Chris Johnson leave that game, but Hall couldn't block a barn door after the hit Lewis put on him.
Dave from Charlotte, NC, writes: "Reed's private nature doesn't get him the superstar treatment and the media attention that he deserves" Are you kidding me??? EVERYONE talks about Reed! They have for years, now. He won a DPOY. He's a great player and deserves the praise, but don't tell me that he's somehow flying under the radar. In fact, there aren't many other defenders with a higher profile than him.
Ralph writes: James, I'm watching the weather report and it seems like it's supposed to be a Purple Storm coming through Sunday starting at 6. Bundle up.
Randy from Baltimore writes: Everyone is talking about the delay of game call from the Titans game, but thats just the breaks of the game, and if you talk to any coach they usually say that by the end of the year the breaks even out for you (both good and bad). And lets not forget the horrific roughing the passer call that was made in the first game. Also in the first game Stover missed a field goal that would have left it tied after the Titans fourth quarter TD. The game was literally the exact same game played earlier, with the opposite outcomes for each team, both statiscally and on the scoreboard.
On the Pittsburgh Steelers ...
Jimmy from Savannah, Ga., writes: James, this blog only gets better and better, bringing in John [Clayton] was a great move. I cannot wait until this game. There's so much emotion running through this game and its hard to tell who's going to win. It's going to come down to the turnover difference. On both sides of the ball you have big playmakers. Flacco/Roethlisberger matchup,. is going to go to Ben hands down. Then you have Lewis/Harrison and Reed/Polamalu. Its going to be the defenses that decide this game not the offenses. last game I recall watching Troy get an INT then Ed get one a few drives later. So I mean you talk about all the big names, I think its going to come down the Special Teams and the second stringers stepping up in this game. I'm talking about the Jim Leonards (Ravens) and the Ike Taylors (Steelers). The guys that bust their butts every practice to help the team win. Its how the captains lead them that affect this game. Can Polamalu and Harrison lead their troops to a win over Lewis and Reed? I don't want to know right now. I want writers like James Walker and John Clayton to give every single stat and look at every single angle so I can get the best football experience possible. I cannot wait until 6:30 Sunday for this matchup. I say Ravens 18 Steelers 14. Go Ravens!!!
Mike from Ewa Beach, HI, writes: Albert Haynesworth is an idiot! His team's offense wasn't all that prolific, especially when it mattered most! That being said, the ravens offense will be thoroughly smothered on Sunday and the Original Big Ben will outplay the upstart. Willie Parker is looking better than ever and the ravens are banged up and worn out... at least their jaws should from all the yapping they do, like little mutt dogs who don't know their place! Steelers win, ravens cry like usual.
On the Cincinnati Bengals ...
Lee from South Bend writes: Mr. Walker, Thanks for all your hard work; I enjoy the blog. Apparently you haven't been getting enough commentary about the Bengals, so I thought I'd chime in with a few questions. First, why isn't anyone talking about how the Bengals finished 12th in the league in total defense? Isn't there reason for optimism among Bengals fans based on such a strong finish? If I'm not mistaken, this was their strongest defensive showing under Marvin Lewis. Mike Zimmer worked miracles with that D, especially considering how many injuries hit the team. Second, where do you see them going with their first-round draft pick? They have a number of needs on the offensive side of the ball. Who do you think are the best fits? Finally, what will they do about their backup QB situation? We still don't know if Palmer's elbow will be healthy next season, and Fitzpatrick really didn't give the team any reason to bring him back. Any chance that they take a QB high in the draft in the event that Palmer can't go? Or are they more likely to bring in a steady veteran guy as an insurance policy (Jon Kitna, anyone?)? Thanks Mr. Walker!
Dan Finnegan from Bremerton, WA, writes: James, your comment about the top heavy AFC North highlights the very significant differences between the Steelers and Ravens as successful organizations and how they go about their business, and that of the Browns and Bengals, and how their methods have yielded such poor results.
On the Cleveland Browns ...
Jesse Treuheit writes: I love your column on ESPN.com. I'm a die hard Browns fan, and I find it sad that so many kids growing up now, Browns fans, can't envision the team as ever being good. I'm 33 and grew up durning the "Kosar" era. I enjoy telling them how things were "back in the day", but they can't fully enjoy it the way I couldn't fully enjoy my Dad or Grandfathers stories about Jim Brown or Otto Graham. The point here is, the losing has been consistant throughout the past 9 years. We've changed coaches, and players, etc. In business, when things fail you change some of the parts, when things STILL fail you try to find a common denomenator. The common denomenator here is the Lerner families ownership of the team. Am I wrong? Randy Lerner HAS to be the laughing stock of the NFL ownership group. How do you explain it when people REMOVE their names from candidacy to
either be coaches, or GM's for this franchise. He must have ZERO credibility. So before we crucified Romeo Crennell or even Butch Davis should we not have gone a little higher on the totem pole? I want to believe in this team again, and the younger fans need a winner or eventually they'll bail. I have a feeling that winning will be hard to come by as long as Lerner owns the team. Am I wrong?