Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Week 8 power rankings: AFC North
By James Walker
Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker
The AFC North went 2-1 last week with all three games coming against the NFC North.
Here is how it impacted ESPN.com's latest power rankings:
Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)
Last week: No. 9
Current ranking: No. 6
Analysis: After dropping three spots in Week 7, the Bengals made a quality jump up three spots following an impressive 45-10 blowout of the Chicago Bears. It was the most complete game the Bengals played all season and clearly caught the attention of ESPN.com’s panel. Cincinnati has made one of the most significant jumps of any team from the beginning of the season to now. The Bengals entered the year at No. 24 and currently are tied for their highest ranking of the season.
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)
Last week: No. 8
Current ranking: No. 7
Analysis: The high-profile game between the Steelers and Minnesota Vikings didn’t have much of an impact on the power rankings. Pittsburgh moved up just one spot to No. 7, while the Vikings dropped one spot this week to No. 4. It’s difficult this time of year to have much movement at the top. Cincinnati owns the head-to-head matchup with the Steelers, so that’s likely why the Bengals are one spot ahead of Pittsburgh this week. Teams like the Vikings, New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts also have been at the top of the rankings all season.
Baltimore Ravens (3-3)
Last week: No. 11
Current ranking: No. 14
Analysis: Sometimes teams are forgotten quickly in the NFL, and that was certainly the case with Baltimore. The Ravens didn’t play last week and dropped three spots in the rankings during their bye. Impressive wins last week by the Green Bay Packers (No. 13) and Philadelphia Eagles (No. 12) caused those teams to move up at Baltimore's expense. The Ravens can significantly improve their standing with a big game Sunday against the undefeated Denver Broncos.
Cleveland Browns (1-6)
Last week: No. 29
Current ranking: No. 30
Analysis: The Browns dropped into the 30s for the first time this season. Cleveland hovered in the high 20s all year until the panel decided this week to move the winless Tennessee Titans up one spot to No. 29. The Browns are the only team with a win that’s rated below a winless team. The Browns lost 31-3 to the Packers Sunday, and have one more game before the bye week.