AFC North: 2013 NFL Week 12 Power Rankings

A weekly examination of the Steelers’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 16 | Last Week: 24 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Pittsburgh Steelers made their biggest jump of the season after overcoming a disastrous second quarter on Sunday and beating the Lions 37-27 at Heinz Field. The Steelers lacked a signature win before outlasting the Lions in Sunday's shootout. The victory gave the Steelers a two-game winning streak and leaves them just one game back in the race for the second AFC wild-card berth.

Here's how the panel voted Pittsburgh:

Ashley Fox: 18

Mike Sando: 15

Kevin Seifert: 20

John Clayton: 24

Dan Graziano: 23

Jamison Hensley: 19

The Steelers play at Cleveland in Week 12. They have owned the Browns, but they have also lost twice in Cleveland since 2009, including last year. Pittsburgh committed eight turnovers in a 20-14 loss, and that game isn’t the only example of why the Steelers shouldn't look past the Browns. They followed a two-game winning streak earlier this season with back-to-back clunkers at Oakland and at New England.

What has given the Steelers the most hope as they still dig out from an 0-4 start is how the offense is coming together. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is in command, and he has enough skill players around him for the Steelers to put up their share of points the rest of the way.
A weekly examination of the Browns’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 28 | Last Week: 19 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The elevator went down in a hurry this week, as with one thud of a loss came one thud of a drop in the Power Rankings for the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns had flirted with breaking into the top half of rankings after beating Baltimore, but one quarter, during which they gave up 31 points to the Bengals, erased any potential of that happening soon.

The Browns do get to play at home this weekend against the Steelers, then have Jacksonville at home the following week.

Which of course starts all the “gosh golly gee whiz” talk about how if the Browns (4-6) can beat Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, they’ll be back at .500 and in it again.

Technically, that is correct. Practically, it seems a long way away.

In reality, 23rd sounds about right for a team that went from one that seemed ready to play in a "big game" to one that actually has lost four of five.
A weekly examination of the Bengals' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 9 | Last Week: 10 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

After improving to 5-0 at home with Sunday's 41-20 win over the Browns, the Cincinnati Bengals climbed two spots in the latest ESPN.com Power Rankings released Tuesday. The jump from 10th to eighth comes one week after they dropped two spots following a second straight overtime loss. On the heels of a four-game midseason winning streak, the Bengals dropped two in a row before Sunday's important division victory.

The Bengals' jump was partly a product of their 19-point win. Given style points for the dominating victory, they rose after scoring more than 30 points for the third time in a game at Paul Brown Stadium this season. Losses by the Patriots, 49ers and Lions also probably helped them gain an extra spot. Two of those teams, the Patriots and Lions, have lost to Cincinnati this season. Half of the six-person Power Rankings panel of voters had the Bengals ranked ninth. The other half had them ranked eighth.

Cincinnati shouldn't expect much movement in next week's rankings as it heads into its bye this weekend. A win the next week at San Diego, though, could push them up another spot or two in the Week 14 Power Rankings.

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