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Around the AFC North (1/2): Rashard Mendenhall Tears ACL

In today's return-from-hiatus edition of Around the AFC North, we take a look at the Steelers suffering another tough loss on offense against the Cleveland Browns, how Joe Flacco compares to other quarterbacks at this stage in his career, and how the Bengals backed into the playoffs.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashard Mendenhall Tears ACL, Out for Postseason

Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall tore his ACL against the Browns this past Sunday in a game that ultimately ended up being "meaningless" for the Steelers.

Rashard Mendenhall will not only miss the entirety of the playoffs, it could be awhile before he returns to the field. ESPN is reporting (via Pro Football Talk) that the Pittsburgh Steelers running back has torn his ACL, which could mean that he misses a significant portion of the 2012 season.

This hurts the Steelers when it comes to depth, but I have personally felt that the team has run the ball better this season with Isaac Redman as the primary back. With Mewelde Moore battling an injury too, Pittsburgh's backup after Redman will be the big John Clay. Steelers fans and Ben Roethlisberger have given Browns fans heat for "cheering" the running back's injury. I don't cheer serious injuries like that for any players, but I'm not shedding a tear over it.

Baltimore Ravens: A Comparison Study on QB Joe Flacco

[Flacco's] QB rating is right in the middle of this pack (with Marino, Big Ben and Rodgers being the outliers). Notice that Joe's QB rating is very close to Brady's, and better than Peyton's, Favre's and Brees' -who also had Cam as his coach the early part of his career. Hmm...

Any study that tries to compare Flacco as a quarterback to some of the elite quarterbacks in NFL history is just downright overly optimistic. Flacco is obviously an acceptable quarterback to lead the Ravens, but it's tiring that fans try to sometimes make him out to be way more than he actually is.

Cincinnati Bengals: Team Backs Into Playoffs After Not Being Expected to Contend

I never thought the Bengals had a chance to make the postseason. Even though they "backed in," the AFC North is still sending three teams to the playoffs:

The Cincinnati Bengals have truly come full-circle, largely believed to be the worst team in the NFL during the preseason to being one of 12 teams that made the playoffs this year. Though the moment is bittersweet due to Cincinnati’s most recent loss to the Baltimore Ravens, remember this moment as the second time in three seasons that the Bengals made the playoffs. No matter what they’ve done in the regular season, none of that matters now. Everyone in the post season is winless, yet undefeated. And the Cincinnati Bengals will play one more week than anyone else expected.