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Tuesday, November 22, 2011
NFL Power Rankings: Steelers over Ravens

By Jamison Hensley

A look at how the AFC North teams stand in ESPN's NFL Power Rankings. I don't have a vote, but I can certainly chime in:

The biggest debate around AFC North headquarters is whether or not the Steelers should rank higher than the Ravens after getting swept by Baltimore. I don't have a problem with it. My feeling is that losing to Seattle and Jacksonville (which the Ravens did) hurts the résumé more than losses to Baltimore and Houston (which the Steelers did). The Ravens have been the better team at times, but the Steelers have been better on a consistent basis. Plus, if the Ravens had beaten the teams they were supposed to beat, there wouldn't be an argument.

STEELERS

Power Ranking: No. 4

Record: 7-3

Comment: The Steelers remain at No. 4 after their bye. Still feel strongly that Pittsburgh deserves to be No. 3 over the Saints. The Steelers have beaten New England and the Bengals in Cincinnati. Their three losses are against No. 5 Ravens (twice) and No. 8 Texans. That's solid.

RAVENS

Power Ranking: No. 5

Record: 7-3

Comment: The Ravens move up into the spot occupied last week by Chicago, which lost quarterback Jay Cutler to a broken thumb. Baltimore continues its trend of beating the teams with winning records by outlasting Cincinnati. The Ravens could make a big push up in the rankings if they beat the No. 2 49ers on Thanksgiving night.

BENGALS

Power Ranking: No. 13

Record: 6-4

Comment: Hard-fought losses to Pittsburgh and Baltimore in consecutive weeks dropped the Bengals a total of three spots. After weeks of being underrated, Cincinnati is right where it should be. The Bengals aren't the lowest-ranked 6-4 team. They sit just above the No. 14 Raiders.

BROWNS

Power Ranking: No. 24

Record: 4-6

Comment: The Browns were one of three teams to move up four spots -- the biggest jumps in the poll this week. Still, Cleveland's four wins have come against teams with a combined 8-32 record. The Browns can really gain momentum by beating a team with a winning record. They have that shot Sunday at Cincinnati.