Who To Root For Tonight: Browns or Bengals?
It's never fun choosing between the lesser of two evils.
But that's what Ravens fans will do tonight if they watch two AFC North rivals battle each other: the Cleveland Browns or Cincinnati Bengals?
Baltimore only has one division game left, so it will help it's standing as the rest of the AFC North cannibalizes each other. A loss to either team will help the Ravens, but on the flip side, a win will boost the other even higher above Baltimore.
So, who should you root for tonight?
Let's look at the division standings under both scenarios:
If the Bengals win:
*AFC North W L T PCT *
Bengals 6 2 1 .722
Steelers 6 3 0 .667
Ravens 5 4 0 .556
Browns 5 4 0 .556
If the Bengals win, the Ravens would get out of the cellar of the division. Baltimore and Cleveland would both be at 5-4, with the Ravens having the edge because of the head-to-head tiebreaker. (Then, if the Ravens win against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, it would move Baltimore a full game ahead of Cleveland.)
If the Browns win:
*AFC North W L T PCT *
Steelers 6 3 0 .667
Browns 6 3 0 .667
Bengals 5 3 1 .611
*Ravens 5 4 0 .556 *
If the Browns win, the Ravens would still be stuck at the bottom of the division. That's not good, but interestingly, at the same time, Baltimore would be closer to regaining the top spot.
The Browns and Steelers would be tied for first place with a 6-3 record, with Baltimore one game behind. (Assuming both Baltimore and Pittsburgh win Sunday, the Ravens would still only be one game behind the division leading Steelers.)
Things could always change later on in the mercurial NFL, but if you still have your eyes on the division crown, then root for the Browns. If you think the Ravens' best shot is the wild-card route, then root for the Bengals.
Ryan Mink, can you give us a definitive answer?
This exercise shows just how tight the battle still is, despite the lopsided loss in Pittsburgh Sunday, which is why one analyst from the NFL Network video below still believes Baltimore is going to win the division.
(Mobile users tap "View in browser" at the top of the page to watch.)
Chykie Brown Quickly Finds New Job
That was fast.
Even when things don't work out with players in Baltimore, you still like to see them land on their feet.
That's what happened with former Ravens cornerback Chykie Brown.
Brown was surprisingly cut by the Ravens Tuesday morning, and was claimed off waivers by the New York Giants Wednesday afternoon. Baltimore parted ways with Brown after he gave up two long touchdowns this season, including a 77-yard game-winner against Cincinnati in Week 1.
The four-year veteran was forced into the starting lineup because of injuries, but the Ravens no longer wanted him manning the post.
What does that say about the Giants' situation, ESPN's Jamison Hensley?
Indeed New York is desperately thin at cornerback.
Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin said his team was in the market after it suffered a huge blow with starter Prince Amukamara's season-ending torn biceps in Monday night's defeat to the Indianapolis Colts.
"The Giants don’t have a ton of options available to them at the moment, however, and likely hope that Brown's experience enables him to contribute in sub packages soon," wrote ProFootballTalk.com's Josh Alper.
Ravens Midseason Awards
Hensley has released his Ravens midseason awards:
Midseason MVP: Gary KubiakHensley: "Even though the offense has struggled recently, no one has had more of a positive impact on the Ravens."
*Biggest Disappointment: The Secondary *Hensley: "Lapses in the defensive backfield have cost the Ravens at critical times."
*Best Moment: Flacco makes NFL history in Tampa *Hensley: "In a rare bright spot on the road, Flacco threw five touchdown passes faster than any quarterback in modern league history."
*Worst Moment: Meltdown in Pittsburgh
*Hensley: "Although the Rice scandal made the Ravens the center of the football world for all of the wrong reasons early in the season, the team's biggest embarrassment on the field was losing its composure to its biggest rival on national television."
*Overall Grade: C
*Hensley: "For the first seven weeks -- when the Ravens went 5-2 -- they were among the most dominant teams in the league. The Ravens outscored teams by a league-high 89 points. That changed when the Ravens went from playing the soft NFC South to the more physical AFC North. Losses at Cincinnati and Pittsburgh showed their deficiencies on offense and defense."
- Ex-Ravens fullback Le'Ron McClain arrested in Alabama on synthetic marijuana trafficking charge. [The Baltimore Sun]
- Ray Rice and Roger Goodell both testified at a hearing Wednesday that could re-instate the former Ravens running back into the league. [CSNBaltimore.com]