<
>

Week 14 Power Rankings: AFC North

12/8/2009

The AFC North division was an abysmal 1-3 last week.

Here is how things shook out in ESPN.com's Power Rankings:

Cincinnati Bengals (9-3)

Last week: No. 5

Current ranking: No. 5

Analysis: As expected, a win over the Detroit Lions didn’t get the Bengals anywhere with our panel. Cincinnati remained at No. 5 for the second straight week. I sense there are still some questions of whether the Bengals are an elite team. They will get a chance to prove it in the next two weeks against a pair of division leaders in the Minnesota Vikings (10-2) and San Diego Chargers (9-3). Both games will be on the road.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6)

Last week: No. 12

Current ranking: No. 15

Analysis: The Steelers continue their free-fall during their season-high four-game losing streak. Pittsburgh was No. 5 in ESPN.com’s Power Rankings in Week 10 and has dropped 10 spots since. The Steelers have lost to the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs during their losing streak, which aren’t the makings of a playoff team. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says changes will be made. But will it be enough to suddenly spark a winning streak?

Baltimore Ravens (6-6)

Last week: No. 13

Current ranking: No. 16

Analysis: The Ravens are in the same spot with the Steelers. They likely have to run the table to get into the postseason. Baltimore had a chance to help its standing but came out flat in a loss to the Green Bay Packers. The Ravens surprisingly showed no urgency and fell behind 17-0 at intermission. Quarterback Joe Flacco is hitting a rough stretch and the defense isn’t dominating. The Ravens’ schedule is relatively easy compared to other playoff hopefuls. But they have to play much better to have a chance.

Cleveland Browns (1-11)

Last week: No. 32

Current ranking: No. 32

Analysis: For the fifth consecutive week, the Browns are at the very bottom of ESPN.com’s Power Rankings. Cleveland showed some life in the second half but still lost to the San Diego Chargers, 30-23. Brady Quinn is showing promise, which is the best thing that can happen to Cleveland at this point. Beyond that, it appears the Browns have a good chance of continuing their winless ways down the stretch.