Monday, November 29, 2010
Previewing AFC North Power Rankings
By James Walker
The AFC North went 3-1 last week -- and we finally went undefeated with our division picks. (Yes!)
Here is how things could shake out in ESPN.com's upcoming NFL Power Rankings:
Baltimore Ravens (8-3)
Last week: No. 3
Result: Beat Tampa Bay, 17-10
Analysis: Baltimore picked up another quality win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4). The Ravens have now beaten three teams with at least seven victories. The two teams ahead of the Ravens (Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots) also won, and both teams beat Baltimore this season. So don't expect any movement for the Ravens this week.
Projected range: No. 3-5
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3)
Last week: No. 5
Result: Beat Buffalo, 19-16 (OT)
Analysis: The Steelers were very lucky in beating the Bills. A dropped touchdown catch in overtime by Steve Johnson would have sealed it. But Pittsburgh took advantage of Buffalo's mistake an picked up its eighth win. The Steelers were very sloppy and allowed the Bills to hang around. They have to play a lot better next week to beat Baltimore.
Projected range: No. 4-6
Cleveland Browns (4-7)
Last week: No. 23
Result: Beat Carolina, 24-23
Analysis: The Browns also were fortunate to hold on against the lowly Carolina Panthers. Cleveland did not play well but broke its two-game losing streak thanks to a missed field goal by Panthers kicker John Kasay. The Browns are starting to show an ugly trend of playing down to their competition. Even in victory, I expect the Browns to drop a little this week after an underwhelming victory.
Projected range: No. 24-26
Cincinnati Bengals (2-9)
Last week: No. 30
Result: Lost to the Jets, 26-10
Analysis: The Bengals on Thanksgiving extended their NFL-high eight-game losing streak with a loss to the New York Jets. Cincinnati once again played one good half before coming apart after intermission. Looking at the Bengals' schedule, this team probably won't win many games the rest of the year. I'm probably going to vote the Bengals at No. 30 this week. The Panthers and Detroit Lions are pretty bad.
Projected range: No. 30-32