Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone from the AFC North blog. What do you reflect upon on a day like today? If it's hits on defenseless receivers, torn knee ligaments and a coach trying to save his job, you've come to the right spot. As for me, the game plan for today is to spend some quality time with the family, and I hope you can do the same. The AFC North blog will be back in full swing Wednesday. Here's your wake-up call ...
RAVENS: Coach John Harbaugh said safety Ed Reed "did everything he could" to avoid helmet contact with Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. According to The Baltimore Sun, the Ravens are hoping that any potential punishment from the league office won't go beyond a fine and that Reed won't face a suspension. "It's tough, full-speed, the whole thing," Harbaugh said. "I hope the league really takes a look at this in the offseason and figures out a way to help the players out a little bit. It's been a real challenge so far this year."
BENGALS: Coach Marvin Lewis doesn't plan to rest his starters in the final regular-season game even though the Bengals are locked into being the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I don't really have any beat-up guys," Lewis said. "So, the only thing that is at stake is you go out and play to win the game every time we go, win."
STEELERS: Tight end Heath Miller tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Sunday and will not play in the regular-season finale against the Browns. It's a terrible way to end a spectacular season for Miller, who was the Steelers' most consistent offensive weapon this year. Miller finished the season with 71 catches for career highs of 816 yards and 8 touchdowns.
BROWNS: Despite just a one-win improvement from a year ago, coach Pat Shurmur believes the Browns better positioned to "make the next jump." Said Shurmur, via The Plain Dealer: "I think ... as a team, and I'm talking about the way we function and the young players we added, we are much improved from a year ago." There is speculation that Shurmur will be fired as Browns coach as soon as the season is over.