<
>

Week 9 power rankings: AFC North

Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker

Half of the division was on a bye last week. But for the first time this season the AFC North has three teams rated in the top 10.

Here is how things shook out in ESPN.com's latest power rankings:

Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)

Last week: No. 6

Current ranking: No. 6

Analysis: Despite the bye, the Bengals held firm at No. 6. Cincinnati's 35-point blowout of the Chicago Bears in Week 7 still resonated with the panel. The Bengals, who are in first place in the AFC North, have a chance to climb into the top five for the first time this season with another big game against the Baltimore Ravens. Cincinnati needs to be more consistent at home. The team's two losses this year have come at Paul Brown Stadium to the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos.

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)

Last week: No. 7

Current ranking: No. 7

Analysis: Similar to the Bengals, the defending Super Bowl champs remained at No. 7 despite the off week. Pittsburgh is playing great football and has won four games in a row. Its last win two weeks ago was over the previously unbeaten Minnesota Vikings (7-1). The Steelers have also have a chance to climb into the top five of next week's power rankings if they can hand the Broncos (6-1) their second loss in as many weeks.

Baltimore Ravens (4-3)

Last week: No. 14

Current ranking: No. 10

Analysis: The Ravens needed a big win and got it with last weekend's convincing, 30-7, victory over Denver. The game moved the Ravens up four spots and into the top 10 and back into the conversation of AFC contenders. Baltimore has enough talent on both sides of the football to compete with anyone. The issue this year has been finishing games. The Ravens will have another big contest this week within the division against the Bengals.

Cleveland Browns (1-7)

Last week: No. 30

Current ranking: No. 31

Analysis: Just when you thought it would be hard for the Browns to drop any further, they did. The St. Louis Rams (1-7) moved one spot ahead of Cleveland to drop the Browns to No. 31 in ESPN.com's power rankings. Cleveland’s 30-6 loss to the Bears was another ugly showing, and this week's firing of general manager George Kokinis also didn’t help. The only team rated behind Cleveland is the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7).