It's the midway point of the week and the midway point of the regular season. Sounds like a good time to unveil the midseason all-division team. This was based on their performance this season and not electoral votes. Check back later to the blog for the team as well as the AFC North weekly chat. Here's your wake-up call ...
RAVENS: Coordinator Dean Pees doesn't like where his defense stood in the NFL rankings (currently 26th), so he decided to change his location on game days. Instead of being on the sideline, Pees moved to the coaches' box last Sunday in Cleveland. “I just felt like at this point, after seven games, I didn’t really like where we were,” Pees told the team's official website. “More than the interaction with the players, I needed to see exactly what is going on and where the breakdowns are occurring and get them fixed." Past defensive coordinators like Chuck Pagano, Greg Mattison and Rex Ryan stood on the sideline. But they had the luxury of veterans like Ray Lewis and Jarret Johnson to explain the problems going on and suggest ways to fix it.
STEELERS: Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu may return for the Nov. 18 against the Ravens after being sidelined for the past five games with a calf injury. Is Polamalu coming back good news for the Steelers? Pittsburgh is 3-1 since Will Allen took over for Ryan Mundy as Polamalu's replacement. The Steelers lead the NFL in fewest yards allowed and fewest passing yards given up. "Will's done a nice job for us playing in place of Troy over the last couple weeks," coach Mike Tomlin said, via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "The assets of his game are he's a deliberate run-force guy, he's got good range and he's consistently physical."
BROWNS: The Browns head into the bye without having scored a touchdown in their last seven quarters. Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden hasn't thrown a touchdown pass in his last nine quarters. Still, coach Pat Shurmur gave him a vote of confidence. "I do believe in him, and he is our guy," Shurmur said, via The Plain Dealer. "[But] I know it's not going to be perfect. It's not going to be pretty all the time." The problem is, Shurmur won't be getting a vote of confidence from owner Jimmy Haslam or chief executive officer Joe Banner anytime soon.
BENGALS: The Bengals aren't pleased with their current four-game losing streak. But it's not like this is a new situation. According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals have had a losing streak of four games or more in 16 of the past 22 years. It's gotten past the point of "must-wins." The Bengals simply need any win right now. "We’re a very urgent team," safety Chris Crocker told the paper. "There are instances in the games where you can’t turn it over and get stops. We haven’t been good in crucial moments.” The last AFC team to start 3-5 and make the postseason was the 1996 Jaguars.