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AFC North and NFL Roundup: Week of Dec. 17-21


Thursday, Dec. 20

!Roethlisberger Offers Apology Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger offered an apology Wednesday after making some critical comments of Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley following Sunday's loss to the Cowboys. Roethlisberger also said that he spoke with Haley and apologized to him as well.
[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

!**Weeden: I Must Be More Consistent**
The Browns have two more games left in the season and the organization is using that time to determine if rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden is the answer at quarterback for the long haul. Weeden acknowledged that and said "I must be more consistent." [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

!Bengals Making Adjustments On Offensive Line 
The Cincinnati Bengals offensive line is considered to be one of the best in the NFL, but the group is still making tweaks late in the season. The group had some problems with pass protections last week, and they plan on making some changes to their pass protection schemes this week against the Steelers.  [Cincinnati Enquirer]

!**RGIII Expected To Start**
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is expected to be back in the lineup this Sunday when the Redskins take on the Philadelphia Eagles. RGIII missed last week's game because of a knee injury he suffered in Week 14 against the Ravens, and the rookie hopes to get back in the lineup as Washington continues its playoff push. [] Wednesday, Dec. 19

!Tomlin Says Roethlisberger's Comments Were In Frustration Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger expressed frustrated after Sunday's overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys, where he threw a late interception that set up the Cowboys game-winning field goal. Roethlisberger was critical of Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley's play-calling and game plan. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

!**Browns Hire New President**
The Cleveland Browns announced the hiring of a new president on Tuesday when Cowboys executive Alex Scheiner agreed to come to Cleveland. He is the first front office hire by the new regime Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner. Scheiner comes to Cleveland from the Dallas Cowboys.
[Cleveland Plain Dealer]

!Bengals Can Atone For Missed Chances 
The Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers will face off in a rematch this weekend with both teams clinging to their playoff hopes. The Steelers won the first game between the two teams, but the Bengals have been hot of late and they are hoping to make the playoffs for back-to-back seasons for the first time under Head Coach Marvin Lewis. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

!**Jets Bench Sanchez For McElroy**
The New York Jets have benched starting quarterback Mark Sanchez and announced that Greg McElroy will be the starter this week against San Diego. Sanchez is coming off a five-turnover performance on Monday Night Football that ended the Jets playoff hopes. [] Tuesday, Dec. 18

!Playoffs Start Now For The Steelers The Steelers have their backs against the wall and are in a must-win situation this weekend against the Bengals. For the Steelers to make the playoffs, they have to win out against the Bengals and the Browns to return to the postseason this year. If they lose one of those games, then they are out contention.  [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

!**Shurmur Will Stick With Weeden**
With two games left in the regular season, the Cleveland Browns plan to stick with rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, despite a bad game last week against the Washington Redskins. The new Browns regime is working to determine whether Weeden is the quarterback of the future and how he plays the last two weeks could help answer that question. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

!Bengals Playoff Picture Is Clear 
The Bengals' playoff picture has also come into focus, and Cincinnati has a simple scenario to secure a playoff spot this weekend: beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh. If the Bengals can take down the Steelers, then they will be back in the playoffs for the second straight season. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

!**Titans End Jets Playoff Hopes**
The Jets committed five turnovers and fell to the Tennessee Titans 14-10 last night on Monday Night Football. Quarterback Mark Sanchez struggled throughout the game, throwing four interceptions and also fumbling on the Jets final possession to seal the game for the Jets. [] Monday, Dec. 17

!Steelers Fall In Overtime The Steelers lost their second straight game as Ben Roethlisberger's overtime interception set up a game-winning field goal by the Dallas Cowboys, making the final score 27-24. The loss dropped the Steelers to 7-7 on the season, and put their playoff hopes in jeopardy with two games left in the season. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

!**Browns Fall To Redskins**
The Cleveland Browns had their three-game winning streak come to an end on Sunday, as they fell to the Washington Redskins 38-21 in their home finale. The loss eliminated the Browns from playoff contention, and also raised questions about the future of quarterback Brandon Weeden in Cleveland.  [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

!Final AFC Spot Is Bengals Right Now 
With the Ravens and Steelers losing on Sunday, the Bengals moved up in the division standings and currently are the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff picture. The Bengals were able to sit at home on Sunday and watch the games unfold, as they took down the Eagles on Thursday Night Football.
[Cincinnati Enquirer]

!**49ers Top Patriots On SNF **
The San Francisco 49ers took down the New England Patriots in a back-and-forth Sunday Night Football matchup. The 49ers had a 31-3 lead at one point, but the Patriots came all the way back to tie the game before San Francisco pulled ahead  at the end for the 41-34 victory. []

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