AFC North: 2013 NFL Week 9 Power Rankings

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

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

The Steelers fell back a couple of spots after they didn’t show up in Oakland until well after kickoff. The Steelers are 2-5 and will try to avoid only their fourth 2-6 start since the 1970 merger when they visit the Patriots this Sunday. Here is a breakdown of the voting:

Ashley Fox: 29

Mike Sando: 24

Kevin Seifert: 28

John Clayton: 28

Dan Graziano: 26

Jamison Hensley: 25

The Steelers face the dual challenge Sunday of playing better on the road and beating Tom Brady. Their longtime nemesis is 6-2 lifetime against the Steelers, and is 4-0 this season at home.

The Steelers' players aren’t ready to concede anything as far as the playoffs -- and the real possibility that they will miss them in back-to-back seasons for the first time under seventh-year coach Mike Tomlin.

But they also realize they are running out of games as they try to revive their faint postseason hopes.

“We are in every football game,” free safety Ryan Clark said. “I feel like we do have the team to do it, but you’ve got to execute. We know we have the players in here, but the players have to take the coaching and bring it to the field.”
A weekly examination of the Browns' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 28 | Last Week: 22 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

This is what Jason Campbell has wrought: He has moved the Browns up one spot in the weekly ESPN Power Rankings. Going from 22 to 21 isn’t cause for Mardi Gras in Cleveland, but it is significant because any positive step matters.

The Browns played the Chiefs close, to the point that they had chances to beat Kansas City when they were down three in the fourth quarter. A fumble and missed opportunities took the chance away, but the Browns left feeling the game was winnable. And feeling that if Campbell keeps playing like he did, the second half of the season won’t be a washout.

It’s interesting how a game like that is perceived. The Browns lost to the top team in the rankings. A week ago, ESPN Giants reporter Dan Graziano had the Browns at 17, but dropped them to 23 this week. National reporter Kevin Seifert moved the Browns from 27 to 18. Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley has the Browns lowest in his vote -- 26th -- and Seifert the highest.

Since the rankings started in 2002, the Browns have had only 14 weeks when they were in the top half of the league.
A weekly examination of the Bengals' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 9 | Last Week: 7 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

Even after their 49-9 dismantling of the New York Jets on Sunday, the Cincinnati Bengals remained seventh in the latest ESPN.com Power Rankings released Tuesday. They first moved into the No. 7 spot last week after beating Detroit on a field goal as time expired. The week before that, they were ranked eighth.

With the Jets above .500 and coming off a game-winning field goal of their own, there was an expectation that the Bengals might actually make a more significant move in this week's rankings with a win. Once they blew out the Jets in such domineering fashion, the likelihood of a jump seemed like an even greater possibility. But with a few other quality Week 8 wins around the league, that's not the way the panel of Power Rankings voters saw it. Four of the six voters ranked Cincinnati seventh this week, while two had them ranked No. 8.

It will be interesting to see exactly where the Bengals settle next week, when they'll be coming off a Thursday night contest at Miami. A win would be their fifth straight and would come despite being down three key defensive contributors.

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