AFC North: power ranking

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

Preseason: 9 | Last Week: 8 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

Back-to-back losses have sent the Cincinnati Bengals sliding through the ESPN.com Power Rankings. After getting as high as seventh in the rankings three weeks ago, they have fallen all the way to 10th in the Week 11 poll that was released Tuesday.

At this point, they may be lucky the six-person panel of voters still considers them a top-10 team. Even though they were playing on a short week at Miami, the Bengals probably should have beaten the Dolphins two weeks ago, and were expected to do the same Sunday at Baltimore. Perhaps they are being spared a steeper fall because of the fact that both those road contests ended in overtime. Cincinnati certainly had opportunities to win each, despite not playing as well throughout those games as they did in the four previous ones. The fact that the Bengals are still leading their division helps their cause for now, too.

A win this weekend at home against 19th-ranked Cleveland should push the Bengals back up a spot. A loss, though, likely would drop them multiple spots for another week.
A weekly examination of the Baltimore Ravens' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

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

The Baltimore Ravens remain in the No. 11 spot in the rankings for a second straight week. The Ravens (1-1) won their first game of the season, but they were hardly impressive in beating the Cleveland Browns 14-6 on Sunday.

A more convincing win wouldn't have moved up the defending Super Bowl champions. The only team in the top 10 that lost was the San Francisco 49ers, and they were atop the rankings last week.

So, just like last week, the Ravens are the fifth-highest-ranked team in the AFC, behind the Denver Broncos (No. 2), Houston Texans (No. 4), New England Patriots (No. 7) and Bengals (No. 10). As one of six voters, the biggest difference in my Power Rankings was putting the Ravens at No. 9, ahead of the Chicago Bears and Bengals. The Ravens will have a chance to jump back into the top 10 if they beat the Texans on Sunday.

As far as the rest of the AFC North goes, the Pittsburgh Steelers fell to No. 25 and the Cleveland Browns dropped to No. 31.
Now that the NFL draft is over and the majority of rosters are filled, it's early prediction time in the AFC North.

In this week's version of "Take your pick," we ask our community to predict how the division will play out in 2010.

Will the Cincinnati Bengals dominate the AFC North for the second straight year? Can the Baltimore Ravens put all of their talent together? What about the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, who both have quarterback questions?

Last week, ESPN.com's panel rated Baltimore as the top AFC North team in its offseason power rankings. Do you agree?

Provide your (unbiased) order of the four division teams below, in our AFC North inbox or to our Twitter account. We will run the best responses throughout the week.

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