Morning take: Hines Ward says he will play

Here are the most interesting stories Tuesday in the AFC North:

  • Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) receiver Hines Ward (concussion) says he will play Sunday against the Oakland Raiders (5-4).

Morning take: Pittsburgh's offense didn’t look the same in the first half when Ward went down against the New England Patriots. It's no surprise Ward aims to return for this big game.

  • Is the Baltimore Ravens' (6-3) pass defense worse with safety Ed Reed?

Morning take: Statistically, Baltimore has allowed more passing yards since Reed's return, but it doesn't make sense to say the Ravens are worse. Reed's presence forces opponents to plan against him, and Reed already contributed three interceptions.

Morning take: Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer lists Matt Stover and Shaun Suisham as early favorites. I'm not sure Stover would come back to a losing team, but Pittsburgh may be a consideration.

  • The Cleveland Browns (3-6) continue to show heart this season.

Morning take: Cleveland could have been a factor had it not blown some early games. But the Browns have to settle for being a spoiler, starting Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars (5-4).