AFC North Power Rankings analysis

October, 26, 2010
10/26/10
2:00
PM ET
Three AFC North teams won this past weekend, which improved the division's standing overall in ESPN.com's Power Rankings.

Here is a recap:

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-1)

Cumulative vote: No. 1

Walker's vote: No. 1

Analysis: As we predicted Monday, Pittsburgh's controversial (lucky?) win over the Miami Dolphins didn't impact the Steelers at the top of the Power Rankings. Pittsburgh received three No. 1 votes, with ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton sticking to his stance that the New York Jets (5-1) are the top team. The most impressive thing is that Pittsburgh is undefeated (3-0) on the road. At some point that streak will end. The Steelers have tough road games against the New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals in Weeks 8 and 9. But if the Steelers can finish above .500 on the road this season, they would be set up well for the postseason.

Baltimore Ravens (5-2)

Cumulative vote: No. 4

Walker's vote: No. 5

Analysis: The Ravens nearly suffered a huge upset loss at home to the winless Buffalo Bills in Week 7, winning 37-34 in overtime. Still, the Ravens kept their No. 4 spot for the second week in a row. Baltimore improved to 5-2 but still has plenty to fix. The pass defense, which many predicted would be an issue this season, lagged the past two weeks. The bye week should help Baltimore.

Cincinnati Bengals (2-4)

Cumulative vote: No. 22

Walker's vote: No. 26

Analysis: The Bengals dropped two spots this week to No. 22 after losing to the Atlanta Falcons. It's clear ESPN.com's panel gives the Bengals plenty of respect for their talent, because the on-field production hasn't been there during their three-game losing streak. As safety Chris Crocker pointed out, most weeks the Bengals hurt themselves more than the opponent. This was the first week I voted the Browns (No. 25) ahead of Cincinnati (No. 26). Cleveland, which beat Cincinnati in Week 4, is playing much better than the Bengals.

Cleveland Browns (2-5)

Cumulative vote: No. 28

Walker's vote: No. 25

Analysis: I'm surprised how little respect the Browns got for a pretty convincing road win over the reigning Super Bowl champions. Cleveland jumped only two spots after one of the bigger upsets of the season, but the panel penalized New Orleans a ton (from No. 6 to No. 14 this week). Although the playoffs are out of reach, the Browns could be tough to beat in the second half.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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