Another week, another set of mixed reviews from the AFC North.
The defending champions went into Chicago and lost to a wounded Bears team, while the Bengals got over their dramatic loss to the Broncos and pulled off a huge win at Green Bay. Meanwhile, the Ravens, specifically Ray Lewis, reminded everyone that their core is their defense, while the Browns were... the Browns.
In my predictions last week, I'll admit right out of the gate that I was wrong on Chad Ochocinco. I thought Green Bay's secondary would hold him, and his mouth, at bay last week, but he found a way to make his promised Lambeau Leap. Moving forward, though, I don't see any reason to bet against Charles Woodson and Al Harris.
As we look forward now to Week Three, there are some more intriguing matchups. The division is keeping the action in-house this week, and there could be some big-time fantasy points found in this division.
Cleveland @ Baltimore - Sunday, 1:00 PM EST
Talk about a bad week for the media in Cleveland to start asking questions about Brady Quinn's job security! Not only are the Browns 0-2, but now they travel to Baltimore to face perhaps the hottest team in the NFL.
There is no question that this game would mean more to Cleveland if the Browns can win than the Ravens if they lose. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how much Cleveland coach Eric Mangini throws to the wind in trying to get a huge upset this week.
The follow-up question to that is whether or not the best Mangini has to offer is good enough to beat a Ravens team that's rolling on all cylinders right now. While they did allow San Diego's Philip Rivers to throw for a career high in yardage last week, and Darren Sproles had a nice game catching the ball and returning kicks, they did their job and kept the Chargers out of the end zone.
If the Ravens can contain the electric Chargers' offense, what can the Browns struggling group do? And can the Browns stop a suddenly confident offense, with both Ray Rice and Willis McGahee becoming impact fantasy players? I wish Cleveland good luck, but wouldn't bet my house on them this week.
Prediction: Baltimore 34 - Cleveland 13
SOLID GOLD LOCK: BAL DEF
Green Light: Joe Flacco
Yellow Light: Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, Todd Heap, Joshua Cribbs
Red Light: CLE DEF, Quinn, Jamal Lewis
Sleepers: Derrick Mason, Braylon Edwards
Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati - Sunday, 4:15 PM EST
This is an intriguing matchup that, six or seven days ago, I wouldn't have thought of as much as I do now. With Troy Polamalu out still for the Steelers, and the Bengals ability to throw the ball on the Packers good secondary, this could be a fascinating game from both a competitive and fantasy point of view.
Ochocinco and Laveranues Coles could be solid plays against Pittsburgh's secondary that allowed Chicago rookie Johnny Knox to become a trendy fantasy add this week. I wouldn't put a ton of faith in Cedric Benson to repeat his 141-yard performance from a week ago against the Steelers' front, though.
On the other side, the Steelers continue to struggle moving the ball on the ground, which opens more opportunities for Ben Roethlisberger to make plays. If the Steelers struggle on the ground early, they might abandon the run again and let Roethlisberger win another game for them in the air.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 27 - Cincinnati 24
Yellow Light: Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall, Hines Ward, Benson
Red Light: CIN DEF