Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker
The AFC North race is heating up as the four teams split wins and losses last week.
Therefore, the power rankings also had some changes within the division.
Here is how AFC North teams fared:
Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
Last week: No. 1
Current ranking: No. 7
Analysis: I’m often baffled by the fickleness of AFC North teams week to week in ESPN.com’s power rankings. Recently the Ravens jumped nine spots to No. 1 and spent two weeks atop the rankings. But after a close, 27-21 loss to the New England Patriots on the road, Baltimore dropped six spots to No. 7. Perhaps the biggest complaint is the New York Jets (3-1), who also lost but weren’t nearly as competitive against the New Orleans Saints, held strong with their previous ranking at No. 5. I’m not sure how the Ravens can drop six spots after a nail-biting loss to the Patriots, yet the Jets remain firm after losing by two touchdowns.
Cincinnati Bengals (3-1)
Last week: No. 11
This week: No. 11
Analysis: The Bengals remained stable at No. 11 for the second straight week after a less-than-impressive overtime win over the Cleveland Browns. Cincinnati is winning the close games but has yet to put together four dominant quarters of football. The Bengals are one of the NFL’s surprise teams at 3-1 and still looking to crack the top 10 for the first time this season. Cincinnati has a huge game Sunday against the Ravens for sole possession of first place. That could move the Bengals up if they found a way to win.
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2)
Last Week: No. 16
This week: No. 15
Analysis: Pittsburgh plummeted down the power rankings during its two-game losing streak but climbed one spot to No. 15 with a 38-28 win over the San Diego Chargers. The Steelers are still having trouble securing wins in the fourth quarter. It didn’t cost them against the Chargers, but Pittsburgh needs to be very leery of this trend. Two very winnable games against the Detroit Lions (1-3) and Browns (0-4) should help the Steelers regain their form.
Cleveland Browns (0-4)
Last week: No. 29
This week: No. 29
Analysis: The Browns took last week’s game against Cincinnati into overtime, which is a solid step in the right direction for this struggling franchise. But it didn’t help Cleveland in the power rankings as the Browns remain near the bottom of the league at No. 29. The move to Derek Anderson ignited Cleveland’s offense and the team has to continue that momentum. The next step is to learn how to win and finish games.