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NFL Power Rankings: AFC North outlook

12/20/2011

A look at how the AFC North teams stand in ESPN's NFL Power Rankings. I don't have a vote, but I can certainly chime in:

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Power Ranking: No. 5

Record: 10-4

Comment: The Ravens fall an expected three spots after being No. 2 for three straight weeks. Losing at the Chargers brought up a nagging issue for Baltimore, which is 4-4 this season against teams that had losing records at the time. The Ravens are in the right spot in the rankings, sitting right behind the Patriots (who are on course for the AFC's top seed). Baltimore can earn the No. 2 seed by winning out.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Power Ranking: No. 6

Record: 10-4

Comment: The Steelers slipped a couple of spots after losing at San Francisco. It's difficult to give the Steelers an accurate ranking at this point. You could argue Pittsburgh is a top-3 team when Ben Roethlisberger is healthy. But the Steelers might not be a top-10 one if an injured Roethlisberger can't perform any better than Monday night. Pittsburgh is 1-4 against teams ranked in the top 7.

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Power Ranking: No. 13

Record: 8-6

Comment: Cincinnati moved up a couple of places with a win at St. Louis. This ranking is the perfect spot for the Bengals. They are the only team with a winning record outside the top 12 for a reason. Cincinnati wouldn't make the postseason if the season ended today, so the Bengals are one spot below the 12 teams that would qualify for the playoffs.

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Power Ranking: No. 28

Record: 4-10

Comment: The Browns fell apart in the fourth quarter in an overtime loss at Arizona, but they managed to inch one spot up as the free-falling Buccaneers dropped below them. The biggest drama remaining this season is whether Seneca Wallace or Colt McCoy will finish out the final two games. And, in case anyone forgot, half of the Browns' wins this season have come against teams who have since fired their head coaches (Jacksonville and Miami).