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Week 12 Power Rankings: AFC North

11/24/2009

The AFC North went 0-4 over the weekend.

So here is how things shook out in ESPN.com's latest NFL Power Rankings:

Cincinnati Bengals (7-3)

Last week: No. 4

Current ranking: No. 7

Analysis: An upset to the Oakland Raiders dropped the Bengals three spots to No. 7. The team held firm in the top five for a couple weeks but was bound for a poor outing at some point. Cincinnati can get back on track with a win Sunday against the division rival Cleveland Browns. The Bengals need to get back to the efficient, focused football that put them in playoff contention and on top of the AFC North. This recent loss should wake them up.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4)

Last week: No. 6

Current ranking: No. 9

Analysis: Pittsburgh’s trip to Kansas City wasn’t a good one. Not only did the Steelers lose to the lowly Chiefs (3-7) in overtime, but starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a blow to the head and backup Charlie Batch (wrist) is out for the rest of the regular season. All of this dropped the Steelers three spots in the power rankings. Pittsburgh is in jeopardy of losing three in a row for the first time this year. Roethlisberger is expected to play Sunday but beating the Baltimore Ravens on the road is never easy. The special teams also need help. The defending champs have some issues.

Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

Last week: No. 11

Current ranking: No. 15

Analysis: There is no shame in the Ravens losing to the undefeated Indianapolis Colts (10-0). But the way Baltimore lost makes it feel as though it blew a good opportunity. The Ravens had plenty of offense but couldn't score touchdowns. They were 0 for 4 in the red zone, and that won’t cut it against a Peyton Manning-led offense. Right now Baltimore is on the outside looking in but its playoffs hopes are not over. The Ravens likely have to go 5-1 or 4-2 down the stretch to have a legitimate chance at the postseason.

Cleveland Browns (1-9)

Last week: No. 32

Current ranking: No. 32

Analysis: The Browns remain dead last in the power rankings after losing in the final play to the equally struggling Detroit Lions (2-8). It was a wild game where Cleveland feels it has a lot to complain about. But the point is the Browns shouldn't have blown a 21-point lead to a bad team. The good news is Cleveland showed signs of life, particularly on offense, which is something it can build on. The Browns will try to pull the upset next week against first-place Cincinnati.