September 27, 2012;Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) throws a pass during the game against the Cleveland Browns at M

AFC North 2012 First Quarter Grades

The first month of the 2012-13 NFL season has gone by and we are handing out first quarter grades to the teams around the NFL. How has your team performed through the first four weeks?

Baltimore Ravens

Record: 3-1

Outside of stumbling in week two against the Philadelphia Eagles — a game that the Ravens really should have one — Baltimore has put together a solid first month of the season. They have put up some outstanding offensive numbers during the first month as they have handed the offense over to Joe Flacco. The Ravens are the second-ranked offense in terms of yards per game and they have the league’s fifth-ranked passing attack.

As always with Baltimore, their defense is holding up their end of the bargain as well.

If the team can continue to put on performances like they have during the first four weeks, they will be right in the Super Bowl mix which is where everyone had expected to see them all alond.

Grade: B+

Cincinnati Bengals

Record: 3-1

The Bengals are a team that everyone imagined would fight for the AFC North title this season after making the playoffs the previous year. If the first month is any indication, Bengals fans still have a lot to be excited about. The offense has received a surprising spark from wide receiver Andrew Hawkins and AJ Green has been a beast as expected. Cincinnati is sitting pretty after the first quarter of the season and they have shown no reason to believe they will take a step back.

Grade: B+

Pittsburgh Steelers

Record: 1-2

It is not the start that Pittsburgh and Steeler Nation had anticipated. The team started off the season with a loss to Peyton Manning and the Broncos — the same team that ended their 2011 campaign — and dropped a week 3 contest against another AFC West opponent, the Oakland Raiders. Pittsburgh’s only win has come against the lowly Jets.

A big reason for their early struggles is the lack of running game and their offense becoming one-dimensional as a result. The Steelers average 65 yards per game on the ground which is ranked 30th in the league. Luckily for the Steelers, starting running back Rashard Mendenhall will be coming back this week and should give them the spark they need.

On defense, the team just looks old and slow. They have also been decimated by injury and will see Troy Polamalu and James Harrison return in week five, as well.

Grade: D

Cleveland Browns

Record: 0-4

Oh, the Browns. The team ranks in the lower half of the league in nearly every offensive category and has been painful to watch through the first month. The only real bright spot on the team — which I don’t agree with but many seem to believe — is some promise and potential from rookie signal-caller Brandon Weeden. That’d be nice and all but Weeden is already older than Aaron Rodgers. He needs to be good now or he will never amount to much of a NFL quarterback.

It’s going to be a long season for the Browns who will be in the mix for the first-overall pick.

Grade: D-

Tags: AFC North Baltimore Ravens Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns Pittsburgh Steelers

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