Monday, September 12, 2011
AFC North Power Rankings preview
By James Walker
Week 1 is in the books for the AFC North. Therefore, expect some significant changes in our next NFL Power Rankings.
Here is how things could look on Tuesday:
Last week's vote: No. 8
Projected vote: No. 4-7
Analysis: I voted the Ravens the highest last week at No. 5. I believe they're the best team in the AFC North this season. Baltimore thoroughly outplayed the Steelers to add confirmation to that prediction. If the offensive line continues to protect the way it did against Pittsburgh, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco could make major strides this year.
Last week’s vote: No. 3
Projected vote: No. 8-11
Analysis: The Steelers were one of the NFL's most surprising teams in Week 1 -- and not in a good way. Pittsburgh was dominated by Baltimore and looked like a shell of last year's team. Most likely Sunday's showing was just a horrible outing. But you wonder if Pittsburgh is getting old fast. I expect the Steelers to get back on track. But they could have one of the biggest drops this week.
Last week’s vote: No. 32
Projected vote: No. 26-29
Analysis: The Bengals pulled off a mild upset by beating the rebuilding Browns on the road. Both teams were ranked near the bottom of our Power Rankings. Therefore, don't expect a huge jump. Cincinnati showed guts by staging a fourth-quarter comeback on the road with its backup quarterback (Bruce Gradkowski). Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis seems to like his young team.
Last week’s vote: No. 29
Projected vote: No. 30-32
Analysis: Are the Browns as bad as they showed in Week 1? Penalties and mental and physical errors killed Cleveland. The Browns were expected to be a better and smarter football team than last season but didn't show it against the Bengals. They have another winnable game next week against the Peyton Manning-less Colts. If Cleveland blows this one, it could be a very long season.