NFL 2013: AFC North Midseason Report Card

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Every team in the National Football League has now played at least eight games this season.

Hence let's take a look at each club in the NFL and how they've performed at the halfway point (or slightly more in some instances).

We'll take some time this week to see what each team has done well this season, what improvement(s) need to be made and assign a grade to each club based on performance and combined with expectations. And to make things easy, we will do it on a divisional basis.

After a look at the AFC East, it's now the AFC North's turn.

And feel free to give out your own grade(s) as well…

Cincinnati Bengals (6-3)

Nice Work: Young offensive players such as rookie running back Giovani Bernard and second-year wide receiver Marvin Jones have been stepping to the forefront. That duo has combined for 13 of the team's 23 offensive touchdowns this season. Bernard ranks second among rookies this season with 628 yards from scrimmage. And 2013 first-round tight end Tyler Eifert has chipped in with 27 catches as well…

Needs Work: Third-year quarterback Andy Dalton has thrown more touchdown passes (16) than interceptions (10) this season. However, a closer look shows that the Bengals signal-caller has thrown for at least one score in six games and been picked off at least once in seven contests. Add in three lost fumbles and Dalton must develop a little more consistency sooner than later…

Grade: B+

Cleveland Browns (4-5)

Nice Work: The addition of defensive coordinator Ray Horton this offseason was thought to be a good move and it's proven to be a great one. Only three teams in the league have allowed fewer yards per game than the Browns, who are also ranked in the top 10 against both the run (7th) and pass (6th). But let's not anoint this group quite yet as there's a lot of work to be done here when it comes to stopping opponents in the red zone…

Needs Work: Veteran quarterback Jason Campbell had a terrific outing in the team's 24-18 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. And when Brian Hoyer was healthy, the Browns had few problems scoring points and winning games as well. Second-year quarterback Brandon Weeden was supposed to have made some strides this year but we are obviously still waiting…

Grade: B-

Baltimore Ravens (3-5)

Nice Work: Having outside linebacker Terrell Suggs healthy from the start of the season has made a difference. The 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year missed eight regular-season games a year ago, although he returned for the Ravens' postseason run. These days, he's currently tied for fifth in the NFL with 9.0 sacks, basically one-third of the team's total (28)…

Needs Work: A lot of changes in Baltimore this offseason but the running game didn't figure to be one of them. Only three teams in the league have rushed for fewer yards per game than the Ravens, who have hit the century mark in this department just once in the team's first eight games in 2013. And that lack of balance hasn't helped quarterback Joe Flacco, who has thrown 10 touchdown passes and committed an equal amount of turnovers…

Grade: C

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6)

Nice Work: Wide receiver Antonio Brown leads the NFL with 61 receptions, good for 701 yards and three scores. The fourth-year pro has caught at least five passes in each of his team's eight games this season. A year ago, the emerging wideout missed three games and totaled only 66 catches (five touchdowns) in 13 contests…

Needs Work: Where to start? Only the Jacksonville Jaguars have been worst when it comes to stopping the run this season. The offensive line remains a major issue, hence the lack of a consistent ground attack and no pass protection for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The franchise's first 10-plus loss season since 2003 (6-10) is a distinct possibility…

Grade: D+

Russell S. Baxter has been covering the NFL for 30-plus years on all platforms. He is the founder of ProFootballGuru.com, writes for numerous websites and publications across the country and is blessed with an encyclopedic memory. Ready to talk NFL? Follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru.

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