Monday, November 8, 2010
Previewing AFC North Power Rankings
By James Walker
Although we still have Monday's matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, half of the division played Sunday to impact this week's ESPN.com Power Rankings.
Here is a preview of the voting:
Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
Last week: No. 2
Result: Beat the Miami Dolphins, 26-10
Analysis: Expect the Ravens to be the No. 1 team this week. Not only did Baltimore get a quality win against the tough Dolphins, but the former No. 1 team, the New England Patriots, suffered a blowout loss to the Cleveland Browns. Baltimore has won five of its past six games and will get my top vote.
Projected range: No. 1-2
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)
Last week: No. 3
Result: Plays Cincinnati Monday
Analysis: The Steelers have a great opportunity to put two AFC North teams at No. 1 and No. 2 in the Power Rankings for the second time this season. To do it, Pittsburgh has to beat the Cincinnati Bengals tonight on the road. The Steelers struggled against the Bengals last season, but catches Cincinnati at the right time. The Bengals have lost four straight games.
Projected range: N/A
Cincinnati Bengals (2-5)
Last week: No. 25
Result: Plays Pittsburgh Monday
Analysis: We will find out a lot about the Bengals on "Monday Night Football." With their playoff hopes done, this team will either relish the role of spoiler or pack it in during the second half of the season. Cincinnati is good enough to make it hard on opponents, but the execution hasn't been there. The Bengals could be in for a makeover after the season.
Projected range: N/A
Cleveland Browns (3-5)
Last week: No. 26
Result: Beat New England, 34-14
Analysis: Cleveland won its second game in a row in impressive fashion with a physically dominating performance against the Patriots. I’ve been saying for two weeks that the Browns deserve more respect for the way they’re playing. This could be the first time this season Cleveland is rated ahead of the underachieving Bengals, depending on what happens Monday night.
Projected range: No. 20-22