AFC North: AFC North NFL rankings

Here's a look at the final NFL rankings for the 2012 season:

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Offense: Overall (22nd), run (18th), pass (17th) and scoring (12th).

Defense: Overall (6th), run (12th), pass (7th) and scoring (8th).

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Offense: Overall (25th), run (24th), pass (19th) and scoring (24th).
Defense: Overall (23rd), run (19th), pass (25th) and scoring (19th).

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Offense: Overall (16th), run (11th), pass (15th) and scoring (10th).

Defense: Overall (17th), run (20th), pass (17th) and scoring (12th-tied).

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Offense: Overall (21st), run (26th), pass (14th) and scoring (22nd).

Defense: Overall (1st), run (2nd), pass (1st) and scoring (6th).

Where they rank on offense, defense

December, 20, 2012
12/20/12
4:00
PM ET
The Bengals are one of five teams who rank in the top 10 in scoring and points allowed. How impressive is that? The other four teams -- Denver, Houston, Atlanta and San Francisco -- have all clinched playoff spots this season.

Last season, the Bengals ranked 18th in scoring and ninth in points allowed. The Cincinnati defense moved up five spots in points allowed after holding the Eagles to 13 points last Thursday.

Here's a look at the NFL rankings after 15 weeks:

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Offense: Overall (18th), run (11th), pass (17th) and scoring (9th).

Defense: Overall (6th), run (9th), pass (12th) and scoring (10th).

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Offense: Overall (26th), run (25th), pass (19th) and scoring (24th).

Defense: Overall (22nd), run (19th), pass (25th) and scoring (15th).

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Offense: Overall (21st), run (22nd), pass (14th) and scoring (12th).

Defense: Overall (26th), run (26th), pass (22nd) and scoring (13th).

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Offense: Overall (19th), run (26th), pass (10th) and scoring (20th).

Defense: Overall (1st), run (4th), pass (1st) and scoring (eighth).

Where they rank on offense, defense

December, 6, 2012
12/06/12
3:30
PM ET
The lack of carries for Ray Rice has been a season-long problem for Baltimore. It shows up in the production.

The Ravens currently have the 23rd-ranked ground game in the league, which is not typical for Baltimore. The Ravens' rushing attack has ranked in the top half of the NFL for the previous five seasons.

Last year, the Ravens were the 10th-best rushing team in the NFL. Their rushing yards per game have dropped from 124.8 in 2011 to 102.4 this year -- a difference of 22 yards per game.

This ground game is close to becoming one of the worst in franchise history. The lowest the Ravens have ever ranked in rushing was 25th (2006). It's hard to believe the Ravens could rank this low considering they have Pro Bowl players at running back (Rice) and fullback (Vonta Leach).

Here's a look at the NFL rankings after 13 weeks:

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Offense: Overall (15th), run (13th), pass (13th) and scoring (10th).

Defense: Overall (8th), run (11th), pass (11th) and scoring (14th-tied).

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Offense: Overall (27th), run (25th), pass (20th) and scoring (25th).

Defense: Overall (23rd), run (16th), pass (24th) and scoring (16th).

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Offense: Overall (19th), run (23rd), pass (15th) and scoring (9th).

Defense: Overall (25th), run (23rd), pass (23rd) and scoring (8th).

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Offense: Overall (20th), run (24th), pass (14th) and scoring (20th).

Defense: Overall (1st), run (5th), pass (1st) and scoring (6th).

Where they rank on offense, defense

November, 29, 2012
11/29/12
4:10
PM ET
The Cincinnati Bengals' defense not only ruined Carson Palmer's homecoming, it took a major leap up in the NFL rankings.

By holding the Raiders to 218 total yards Sunday, Cincinnati now has the ninth-ranked defense in the league, an eight-spot improvement from the previous week. The Bengals were the seventh-ranked defense in 2011, giving up 316.3 yards per game. After 12 weeks this season, Cincinnati is allowing 334.5 yards.

Here's a look at the NFL rankings after 12 weeks:

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Offense: Overall (13th), run (14th), pass (12th) and scoring (10th).

Defense: Overall (9th), run (17th), pass (8th) and scoring (15th-tied).

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Offense: Overall (29th), run (26th), pass (23rd) and scoring (27th).

Defense: Overall (22nd), run (19th), pass (21st) and scoring (15th-tied).

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Offense: Overall (16th), run (21st), pass (11th) and scoring (9th).

Defense: Overall (24th), run (26th), pass (23rd) and scoring (7th).

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Offense: Overall (19th-tied), run (22nd), pass (15th) and scoring (20th).

Defense: Overall (1st), run (5th-tied), pass (1st) and scoring (4th).

Where they rank on offense, defense

November, 21, 2012
11/21/12
2:00
PM ET
The offenses for the Bengals and Ravens are going in opposite directions.

Cincinnati moved up five spots to become the NFL's 15th-ranked offense after recording 409 total yards at the one-win Chiefs. Baltimore moved down five spots to become the league's 21st-ranked offense after struggling to produce 200 yards against Pittsburgh.

It's been a dramatic fall for the Ravens offense over the course of the season. Baltimore had the second-ranked offense after four games, averaging 424 yards per game. But the Ravens have fallen 19 spots over the past six games and they now average 338.7 yards per game.

Here's a look at the NFL rankings after 11 weeks:

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Offense: Overall (15th), run (20th), pass (10th) and scoring (12th).

Defense: Overall (17th), run (18th), pass (15th) and scoring (19th-tied).

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Offense: Overall (27th), run (27th), pass (19th) and scoring (25th).

Defense: Overall (23rd), run (24th), pass (22nd) and scoring (18th).

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Offense: Overall (21st), run (25th), pass (16th) and scoring (7th-tied).

Defense: Overall (25th), run (27th), pass (23rd) and scoring (9th).

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Offense: Overall (17th), run (17th), pass (13th) and scoring (19th).

Defense: Overall (1st), run (4th), pass (1st) and scoring (5th).

Where they rank on offense, defense

November, 15, 2012
11/15/12
2:30
PM ET
In terms of matchups, it doesn't get any closer than the Ravens' and Steelers' offenses. Through nine games, both offenses have produced exactly the same amount of yards -- 3,187.

Of course, the Steelers offense will be different with Byron Leftwich starting instead of Ben Roethlisberger. But both offenses come into the rivalry game tied for 16th in total yards. The Ravens have 10 more rushing yards than the Steelers, and Pittsburgh has 10 more passing yards than Baltimore.

The big difference is in scoring. After scoring a franchise-record 55 points last Sunday against Oakland, the Ravens jumped seven spots to No. 4 in scoring (28.2 points). The Steelers have the 18th-ranked scoring offense, averaging 23 points per game.

Here's a look at the NFL rankings after 10 weeks:

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Offense: Overall (20th), run (25th), pass (10th) and scoring (12th).

Defense: Overall (19th), run (20th), pass (18th) and scoring (25th).

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Offense: Overall (29th), run (27th), pass (18th) and scoring (26th).

Defense: Overall (24th), run (27th), pass (22nd) and scoring (20th).

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Offense: Overall (16th-tied), run (20th), pass (13th) and scoring (4th).

Defense: Overall (27th), run (26th), pass (26th) and scoring (13th).

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Offense: Overall (16th-tied), run (21st), pass (11th) and scoring (18th).

Defense: Overall (1st), run (6th), pass (1st) and scoring (7th).

Where they rank on offense, defense

November, 8, 2012
11/08/12
11:30
AM ET
The Cleveland Browns offense didn't just slip in the red zone this past week. It has also fell in the NFL rankings.

Cleveland ranks 30th -- third-worst in the NFL -- in average yards gained per game (312.0). Only the Arizona Cardinals (295.4) and Jacksonville Jaguars (254.4) are worse than the Browns.

This is familiar territory for Cleveland. The Browns offense has ranked 29th or worse over the previous four seasons.

Here's a look at the NFL rankings after nine weeks:

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Offense: Overall (17th), run (26th), pass (11th) and scoring (14th).

Defense: Overall (20th), run (17th), pass (19th) and scoring (25th).

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Offense: Overall (30th), run (27th), pass (19th) and scoring (25th).

Defense: Overall (23rd), run (26th), pass (23rd) and scoring (21st).

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Offense: Overall (19th), run (16th), pass (15th) and scoring (11th).

Defense: Overall (26th), run (28th), pass (22nd) and scoring (15th).

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Offense: Overall (14th), run (21st), pass (10th) and scoring (13th).

Defense: Overall (1st), run (7th-tied), pass (1st) and scoring (9th).
The Ravens still lead the AFC North and have the second-best record (5-2) in the AFC. The challenge for Baltimore is to get to the playoffs with a struggling defense, which is something the Ravens have never done before.

In the Ravens' 16 years of existence, they've only failed to field a top-10 defense in four seasons: 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2002. Every one of those seasons resulted in losing ones. It didn't matter that the Ravens had top-10 offenses in 1996 and 1997.

This year, the Ravens have fallen to 28th overall in defense, a free fall of 25 spots from the end of the 2011 season. The Ravens are currently giving up 400 yards per game, which is a franchise-worst pace. No Ravens defense has ended a season allowing more than 368.1 yards per game.

Here's a look at the NFL rankings after eight weeks:

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Offense: Overall (17th), run (23rd), pass (11th) and scoring (14th).

Defense: Overall (21st), run (22nd), pass (16h) and scoring (25th-tied).

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Offense: Overall (29th), run (29th), pass (19th) and scoring (25th).

Defense: Overall (26th), run (24th), pass (25th) and scoring (19th-tied).

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Offense: Overall (16th), run (19th), pass (13th) and scoring (11th).

Defense: Overall (28th), run (30th), pass (24th) and scoring (17th).

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Offense: Overall (10th), run (21st), pass (7th) and scoring (13th).

Defense: Overall (2nd), run (9th), pass (1st) and scoring (9th-tied).

Steelers defense rises to No. 2

October, 24, 2012
10/24/12
1:30
PM ET
The Steelers are the only AFC North team upholding the tradition of playing good defense. After dominating a struggling Bengals' offense, Pittsburgh moved up three spots on the NFL rankings (in yards) to No. 2 overall.

With all of the blown fourth-quarter leads, no one is going to even mention this defense with some of the ones in recent years. But statistically speaking, Pittsburgh is faring better than most on defense. The Steelers are holding teams to 277.3 yards per game, which trails only the 49ers (272.3). Pittsburgh is the only division team with a defense ranked in the top half of the league. Last season, all four defenses ranked in the top 10, and the Steelers allowed a league-best 271.8 yards per game.

Many disagree with yards per game being the indicator for overall defensive ranking. In terms of points allowed, the Steelers are allowing 22 points per game, which is 12th in the league. None of the other defenses in the division are keeping teams under 23 points per game.

The biggest fall for offense and defense this week, not surprisingly, involved the Ravens, who lost by 30 points in Houston. Baltimore's offense plummeted eight spots to No. 16, and its scoring defense dropped six spots to No. 17.

Here's a look at the NFL rankings after seven weeks:

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Offense: Overall (17th), run (21st), pass (12th) and scoring (15th).

Defense: Overall (18th), run (21st), pass (18h) and scoring (25th).

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Offense: Overall (27th), run (30th), pass (16th) and scoring (21st).

Defense: Overall (27th), run (24th), pass (26th) and scoring (23rd).

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Offense: Overall (16th), run (16th), pass (14th) and scoring (10th).

Defense: Overall (26th), run (27th), pass (23rd) and scoring (17th-tied).

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Offense: Overall (11th), run (26th), pass (6th) and scoring (17th).

Defense: Overall (2nd), run (9th), pass (2nd) and scoring (12th).
It's been a down year in general for all of the defenses in the AFC North. But the defense that has suffered the most is the Cleveland Browns.

After ranking 10th in the NFL last season, the Browns' defense has dropped to 30th in the NFL. There's an obvious reason for the struggles: injuries.

The Browns haven't had defensive tackle Phil Taylor (pectoral muscle) or outside linebacker Chris Gocong (Achilles) all season. Outside linebacker Scott Fujita has missed two games, defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin was sidelined last Sunday and middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson was knocked out of a game a couple of weeks ago. Plus, cornerback Joe Haden missed four games due to an NFL suspension. It would be easier to list the starters on defense who haven't missed time.

The Browns have good young talent on defense, but they don't have much depth. When starters get injured, there is a drop-off to the backups (although defensive lineman Billy Winn has looked good at times). That's how a defense falls 20 spots in the rankings.

A look at how the AFC North ranks in the NFL's major statistical categories:

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Offense: Overall (10th), run (21st), pass (8th) and scoring (13th).

Defense: Overall (15th), run (21st), pass (17h) and scoring (22nd-tied).

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Offense: Overall (25th), run (27th-tied), pass (16th) and scoring (19th).

Defense: Overall (30th), run (25th), pass (20th) and scoring (22nd-tied).

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Offense: Overall (8th), run (14th), pass (11th) and scoring (9th).

Defense: Overall (26th), run (26th), pass (22nd) and scoring (11th).

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Offense: Overall (16th), run (31st), pass (7th) and scoring (17th).

Defense: Overall (5th), run (10th), pass (4th) and scoring (17th-tied).

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