AFC North and NFL Roundup: Week of Oct. 1-5

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Friday, Oct. 5

Running Game The Focus
With the return of running back Rashard Mendenhall this week, the Pittsburgh Steelers have placed a renewed emphasis on the running game. On the defensive side of the ball, the Steelers are also focused on the ground game, as they have made stopping the run a priority this week against the Eagles. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Haslam Won't Discuss Staff Changes Yet
Incoming Cleveland Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam III said that he won't discuss potential staff changes until after the season. Haslam is set to officially take over  the team later this month, but he has not discussed whether he will retain coach Pat Shurmur and President Mike Holmgren. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

Mays Wants To Intimidate Receivers 
Cincinnati Bengals safety Taylor Mays, who was fined this year for a personal foul penalty against the Ravens, says that he wants opposing players to be intimated when they come across the middle. "I want to be an intimidating presence," Mays said. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

Cardinals Drop  First Game Of Year
The Arizona Cardinals' unbeaten streak came to an end against the St. Louis Rams on Thursday Night Football.  The Rams dominated Arizona for the 17-3 victory, as Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb was under heavy pressure the entire night.  [SI.com] Thursday, Oct. 4

Run Defensee Suspect Early
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been known for their run-stuffing defense over the years, but the unit has been suspect against the run in the early part of the 2012 season. They are tied  for 14th in the league this season, allowing an average of 101 rushing yards per game. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Cribbs Ready To Play Despite Family Wishes
After going 589 touches without a fumble, Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis has coughed up the football three times in his last 28 touches. Holding onto the football has never been a problem for Green-Ellis, but he's placed a renewed focus on that area. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

Fumbles A Concern For Green-Ellis 
Sundays game between the Dolphins and Bengals at Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium is still not sold out, and the Bengals have extended the deadline to sell their remaining tickets to avoid a local blackout. The indication is that between 5,000-10,000 tickets remain. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

Payton, Loomis, Vitt May Attend Sunday's Game
Suspended New Orleans Saints personnel Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt may be allowed to attend Sunday's home game against San Diego, as quarterback Drew Brees has the chance to break Johnny Unitas' record of throwing a touchdown pass in 47 straight games. [SI.com] Wednesday, Oct. 3

Steelers Expect Polamalu, Harrison, Mendenhall Back
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been without some of their elder stars for the early part of the season, but that will likely change on Sunday. Safety Troy Polamalu, linebacker James Harrison and running back Rashard Mendenhall are all expected to play this weekend against the Eagles. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Browns Prepare To Face Defending Champs 
The tough road continues this week for the Cleveland Browns, as they will have to go on the road to face the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. The Giants (2-2) are coming off a loss last week to the Eagles, and the Browns (0-4) are looking to get their first win on the season.  [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

Dolphins-Bengals Still Not Sold Out 
Sundays game between the Dolphins and Bengals at Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium is still not sold out, and the Bengals have extended the deadline to sell their remaining tickets to avoid a local blackout. The indication is that between 5,000-10,000 tickets remain. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

Holmes Could Be Done For Season
Jets wide receivers Santonio Holmes suffered a foot injury in the Jets loss this weekend, and it appears that his season could now be over. Holmes has a Lisfranc injury on his left foot, and a source told the Associated Press that the injury will likely end his season. [SI.com] Tuesday, Oct. 2

Another Loss Could Strain Playoff Hopes
The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off an early bye week, and now they have a game coming up on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. It's a critical game for the Steelers, who hope to avoid staring 1-3 to fall further behind the Ravens and Bengals in the division. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Browns Receivers Fighting Through Frustrations 
Cleveland Browns return man Josh Cribbs does not expect to miss any games after suffering a concussion Thursday night against the Ravens. Cribbs was knocked out after a hit from Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, but Cribbs thinks he will be ready to play next Sunday. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

Defense Improves In Week 4 
The Cincinnati Bengals defense struggled during the first three weeks of the season, but the group had its best showing to date in last week's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The outlook for the group is positive after holding the Jaguars to 10 points and 212 total yards. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

Bears Drop Cowboys On MNF 
The Chicago Bears topped the Dallas Cowboys 34-18 on Monday Night Football. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw five interceptions, as the Cowboys dropped to 2-2 on the season. The Bears moved to 3-1 with the victory. [SI.com] Monday, Oct. 1

Mendenhall Expected To Return This Week
Running back Rashard Mendenhall is expected to make his return to the Steelers lineup this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Mendenhall is coming of a torn ACL he suffered near the end of last season, and the Steelers running back has struggled in his absence. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Cribbs Does Not Expect To Miss Any Games 
Cleveland Browns return man Josh Cribbs does not expect to miss any games after suffering a concussion Thursday night against the Ravens. Cribbs was knocked out after a hit from Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, but Cribbs thinks he will be ready to play next Sunday. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

Bengals Win In Jacksonville 
The Cincinnati Bengals won their third straight game on Sunday, taking down the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-10 on the road. Quarterback Andy Dalton led the way for Cincinnati, throwing two touchdowns and running for another in the victory. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

Eagles Take Down Giants On Sunday Night Football 
The Philadelphia Eagles improved to 3-1 by beating the defending Super Bowl champion Giants on Sunday Night Football. Quarterback Michael Vick led the Giants on a fourth-quarter comeback, and the Giants missed a potential game-winning field goal in the final seconds.  [SI.com]

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