Here are some highlights from the AFC North weekly chat from this afternoon:
Jesse (Erie, PA): Lawrence Timmons really is the forgotten linebacker of the Steeler Defense but with his play being more explosive as of late does he have a shot at a pro bowl?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN): I was thinking the other day that it would between Timmons and Geno Atkins as Defensive Player of the Year in the AFC North. I would vote for him for the Pro Bowl.
Virgil (Boulder, CO): How did the Browns only beat the Steelers by 6 points after 8 turnovers? That seems like solid evidence that the Browns still have a very, very long way to go if they ever want to be serious contenders in the AFC North and/or playoffs. What do you think?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN): It's the result of a still very young Browns offense against the top-ranked defense in the NFL. The Browns had more punts (four) following turnovers as scoring drives (three).
Andy from cincy [via mobile]: Yesterday on mike & mike, Cris Carter said AJ Green is not a top tier reciever. He said he isn't close to players like fitzgerald, Andre Johnson or roddy white. He must be living in a cave. What's your opinion? Thanks
Jamison Hensley (ESPN): Cris Carter has played the position and probably knows what it takes to succeed at wide receiver more than any of us here. But I just don't understand how anyone could say A.J. Green isn't a top-tier wide receiver. He's got speed, height, great work ethic. Green also attacks the ball when it's in the air and can run after the catch. He's the total package as far as I'm concerned.
Ravenous128 (Columbia, MD): Jamison - given Ray Lewis' eventual return, do you think he'll be needed? McClain and Ellerbe appear to be rounding into form nicely. If Ray returns (assuming he's 100% healthy), what role should he play? Thanks.
Jamison Hensley (ESPN): I'm still shocked that there's even a chance for him to play in the regular season. But, like I've said before, Ray Lewis has proven me wrong on several occasions. If he does come back, the Ravens should keep him to running downs and get him off the field in clear passing situations. Lewis, though, has a lot of pride. It could be difficult to make this happen.
Joe (Dover, Ohio): Do you see the browns being an upstart team like the Colts are this year...for next year?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN): It depends on a lot of factors, the first being the head coach. The Browns have got to get that right this time. You have to wonder where the Browns would be right now if Holmgren had taken over as coach instead of hiring Shurmur.
Adam (DC): Assuming the Steelers get to 8 or 9 wins, is the only team that can realistically challenge the Steelers for their Wild Card Spot the Bengals?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN): I say it's a three-team race for two spots with Colts, Steelers and Bengals. The Dolphins are the only other AFC team with at least five wins. But Miami has to play Patriots twice and play at San Fran. So, I don't expect the Fins to be in the picture much longer.
Vincent (Osborne): What do you think of the Bengals chances for the playoffs? They have the offense make noise in the playoffs, but defense seems to be the key. (the last couple of years in the playoffs) If they could get in, how far could you see them going?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN): Bengals have to win at Pittsburgh or beat the Ravens at home in the final two weeks. They can't lose both and expect to make the postseason.
Dem_Stillers (PA): Do you think the Ravens have what it takes to win it all without home field advantage?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN): They were one dropped catch from doing it last season.