Week 15 power rankings: AFC North

December, 15, 2009
12/15/09
2:05
PM ET
Here is how the AFC North fared in ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings:

Cincinnati Bengals (9-4)

Last week: No. 5

Current ranking: No. 7

Analysis: Our panel has a lot of respect for the Bengals, who dropped just two places after a 30-10 blowout defeat to the Minnesota Vikings. Cincinnati was on the cusp of being considered an elite team but blew that opportunity last week. The Bengals rightfully remain in that second tier of teams looking to take that next step. Cincinnati has another chance to make a statement Sunday against the San Diego Chargers (10-3), who are No. 4 in this week's power rankings.

Baltimore Ravens (7-6)

Last week: No. 16

Current ranking: No. 12

Analysis: Ravens fans can rejoice that the Steelers finally are not rated ahead of them. Baltimore beat Pittsburgh head-to-head in November, yet the Steelers stood one spot higher as recently as last week. Now the Ravens moved up four spots to No. 12 after a 48-3 rout of the Detroit Lions. Baltimore remains in the wild-card race and its favorable schedule gives the team a good chance to make the postseason. But the Ravens need to remain consistent.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7)

Last week: No. 15

Current ranking: No. 19

Analysis: The Steelers continue to fall, as they checked in at No. 19 this week for their lowest ranking of the season. Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes were all but lost after dropping its fifth straight game to the Cleveland Browns, which receiver Hines Ward called "embarrassing." No one expected the Steelers to be in the role of spoiler down the stretch. But the team has a chance to extend its misery to a trio of playoff hopefuls, which include the Green Bay Packers (9-4), Ravens (7-6) and Miami Dolphins (7-6).

Cleveland Browns (2-11)

Last week: No. 32

Current ranking: No. 29

Analysis: What does a win over the reigning Super Bowl champions get you? Apparently it moves the Browns up three spots in ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings. Cleveland is finally out of the basement after beating the Steelers. Before that, the Browns spent five straight weeks at No. 32. It was easy for Cleveland to get up for Pittsburgh, it's biggest rival. But can the Browns continue that momentum and get up for a road game this Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs (3-10)?

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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