AFC North: 2013 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings

A weekly examination of the Baltimore Ravens' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 8 | Last Week: 11 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

There was little argument for the Baltimore Ravens to be ranked higher than No. 11 for the previous two weeks. But a third straight week at this spot makes no sense. The Ravens (2-1) routed the No. 4 Houston Texans by three touchdowns on Sunday and they failed to move up one spot.

As one of the six voters for the Power Rankings, I had the Ravens at No. 5. It's obvious that few agree with me. Other voters leapfrogged two undefeated AFC teams (the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs) as well as the Indianapolis Colts over the Ravens. So the Colts climb five spots after beating the No. 3 San Francisco 49ers and the Ravens stay put after beating a top-five team. The defending Super Bowl champions are now the seventh-highest-ranked team in the AFC.

As far as the AFC North goes, the Cincinnati Bengals jumped to No. 6, the Cleveland Browns moved up to No. 25 and the Pittsburgh Steelers plummeted to No. 28.
A weekly examination of the Browns' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 28 | Last Week: 31 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

Who said the Browns had given up on the season after trading running back Trent Richardson? Oh, that's right, I did. Well, the Browns proved me and other critics wrong by beating the Minnesota Vikings, a playoff team last year, on the road.

That moved the Browns up six spots in this week's rankings after being next-to-last a week ago. It was tied for the second-biggest jump in this week's Power Rankings. Only the New York Jets, who climbed 10 spots, made a bigger leap.

This is the Browns' highest ranking of the year and their best since they ended the 2012 season at No. 24. But the Browns are ranked above only one other one-win team, the Oakland Raiders (who are No. 30). The only other teams below Cleveland are winless ones.

As far as the AFC North goes, the Cincinnati Bengals jumped to No. 6, the Baltimore Ravens stayed at No. 11 and the Pittsburgh Steelers plummeted to No. 28.
A weekly examination of the Bengals' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

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

As expected, Cincinnati's 34-30 win Sunday over the Green Bay Packers gave the team a boost in this week's ESPN.com Power Rankings. This is only the second time this season the Bengals have experienced movement in the rankings. Three weeks ago, after losing their season opener at Chicago, they fell from No. 9 to No. 10. Even with a win over Pittsburgh in Week 2, they maintained that ranking of 10th last week.

In the eyes of the six Power Rankings voters, Sunday's gritty, physical win over a strong opponent was a pivotal one. Cincinnati showed that it not only has the talent, but it also may finally have the good fortune to be one of the better teams in the NFL this season. In order to go from good to elite, though, the Bengals will need to take care of business against the Browns this week, and handle the currently fifth-ranked Patriots at home the week after. If that happens, Cincinnati could soon be among the top three teams in the league.

With its loss, Green Bay fell from No. 5 to No. 12.
A weekly examination of the Steelers' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 16 | Last Week: 25 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Steelers’ slide continues, and their place near the bottom of the Power Rankings is surprising for a couple of reasons. First, these are the Steelers, the franchise that has won a record six Super Bowls, a team that has never had a losing season under seventh-year coach Mike Tomlin. Also, the Steelers have been in all three games they have played. That’s not to say this team should be 3-0 or even 2-1, but it has at least given itself a chance to win every week.

The myriad reasons why the Steelers are still winless, though, justifies the low ranking. The offensive line has been a sieve, and the offense has barely been functional except for Sunday night, when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tapped into the sandlot style that has served him so well. Roethlisberger, however, committed four turnovers and the Steelers are now minus-nine in turnover differential.

A once fearsome defense has to share the blame for the Steelers' losing the early turnover battle in a big way. It has no takeaways, and what is most surprising and disconcerting about that is its best playmaker, Troy Polamalu, has stayed healthy so far and has looked terrific. The Steelers travel across the Atlantic Ocean later this week, and the most promising aspect of their London trip is that they will play another 0-3 team when they battle the Minnesota Vikings.

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