NFL Power Rankings: AFC North outlook

December, 6, 2011

A look at how the AFC North teams stand in ESPN's NFL Power Rankings. I don't have a vote, but I can certainly chime in:


Power Ranking: No. 2

Record: 9-3

Comment: The Ravens remain No. 2 for the second straight week. Baltimore won't be able to move much higher, considering the undefeated Packers will likely stay No. 1 even if they lose a game. The Ravens' résumé of wins is impressive: San Francisco, Houston, Pittsburgh (twice) and Cincinnati. That's one-third of the current playoff field. That's what makes some of Baltimore's losses (namely Jacksonville and Seattle) so bizarre.


Power Ranking: No. 5

Record: 9-3

Comment: The Steelers stay at No. 5 for a second straight week after an impressive 35-7 win over the Bengals. The AFC North is the only division to have two teams in the top 5. The Steelers' only losses have come to No. 2 Baltimore and No. 7 Houston. The second loss to the Ravens is the painful one. Pittsburgh is one major lapse (a 92-yard touchdown drive by Joe Flacco) away from having an eight-game win streak and the inside track for a division title.


Power Ranking: No. 14

Record: 7-5

Comment: The Bengals should be thankful they only slipped one spot after getting routed in Pittsburgh. They're not even the lowest-ranked 7-5 team. The Raiders (who lost to Miami) and the Bears (who fell to Kansas City) dropped past Cincinnati after more troubling losses. The Bengals have a critical game against the No. 7 Texans on Sunday.


Power Ranking: No. 28

Record: 4-8

Comment: The Browns are the lowest ranked of the 4-8 teams and deservedly so. Their offense and defense both failed to show against Baltimore. Here's an interesting note: three of the Browns' wins have come against teams who have or eventually might fire their head coaches (Jacksonville, Miami and Indianapolis).

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?