Breaking down AFC North power rankings

October, 14, 2008
10/14/08
3:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

There were lots of upsets to shake up the power rankings in Week 6.

Here is how the AFC North fared with ESPN.com's expert panel this week:

Baltimore Ravens (2-3)

Walker's vote: No. 22

Cumulative vote: No. 23

Analysis: The Ravens had one of the biggest free falls in the cumulative rankings this week, going from No. 15 to No. 23. Three losses in a row will do that. Baltimore ran into a buzz saw in the Indianapolis Colts last week and lost by four touchdowns. Three of the four AFC North teams are now rated No. 22 or lower.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-6)

Walker's vote: No. 31

Cumulative vote: No. 31

Analysis: The Bengals were still winless last week, but I had them four spots higher at that time. But Carson Palmer was in the lineup and Cincinnati played the Dallas Cowboys tough on the road. Since Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starter for the time being, the Bengals deserve to be in the bottom two with the Detroit Lions.

Cleveland Browns (2-3)

Walker's vote: No. 23

Cumulative vote: No. 22

Analysis: The Browns are becoming difficult to rank. Do we go by the previous body of work over four games? Or do we look closer at Monday's game coming off a bye week when most of Cleveland's key players are healthy? The panel did a little bit of both, moving the Browns up three spots but not too much, despite a stellar win over the reigning Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Overall, the panel wants to see if Cleveland can remain consistent.

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1)

Walker's vote: No. 1

Cumulative vote: No. 3

Analysis: This was a tough one. After so many upsets this week, particularly in the strong NFC East, did I really feel the Pittsburgh Steelers are the best team in the NFL this week? I considered keeping the Giants No. 1 regardless of the outcome Monday, but they lost too handily to still make them the top team. So that left Pittsburgh or the Tennessee Titans, and I believe the Steelers are currently a better football team, despite Tennessee's undefeated record.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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