AFC North Power Rankings: Week 8
The win last night will certainly help me, at least, get through the week until Sunday. The bad news is that this Sunday the Steelers face a Colts team that absolutely dismantled the Bengals in every fashion. There may or may not also be a new team in the basement of the rankings. That’s what happens when you lose to the Jaguars. A team who even the Steelers can beat. The AFC North is actually looking to be one of the stronger divisions in the league this year.
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4. Cleveland Browns (3-3)
Last Week: 4
After they destroyed the Browns I expected the Browns to make it two straight against the Jaguars. Needless to say that didn’t happen. It wasn’t even that close, either. Maybe it isn’t just the Steelers who are up and down this season. The Browns are definitely talented enough to sustain an 8-8 pace. The only question is whether they will be consistent enough in their performance. Brian Hoyer has quieted many critics this season and the offense has been better than expected. The defense was expected to be the strong suit of the team but so far they have been mostly disappointing. If the defense can pick it up they have an outside shot at making the playoffs.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)
Last Week: 4
The inconsistency continues. Even though they ended up with a W last night against the Texans, they really only clearly outplayed the Texans for 6 minutes of the game. Todd Haley was once again awful, but the offense found away to overcome it and score 30 points with the help of some turnovers. If the Steelers make the playoffs this year you can bet that the whole coaching and front office regime will be around for another 5+ years. That will bring another 5+ years 8-8 seasons and mediocrity. Off course I always root for the Steelers to win, but the best thing that could happen to this team is to lose out and clean house at the end of the season. That’s the only way the 8-8 seasons will end.
2. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2-1)
Last Week: 1
This is the first time all season since the first few weeks that Bengals aren’t in the top spot. For a good reason, too. The loss to the Colts this week marks the third straight week that the Bengals have either tied or lost. Neither of the losses have been anywhere remotely close either. They got annihilated by the Patriots and Colts and tied with the measly Panthers. The Bengals offense has not been nearly effective enough for a team that should be in the playoffs. I only wish I had stayed with my preseason prediction for them a little bit longer.
1. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
Last Week: 2
Somewhat surprisingly the Ravens sit atop the division and the power rankings after week 7. If you were to look at their depth chart, though, you wouldn’t see a roster that is stereotypical of a 5-2 record. A lot of players that are starting on the Ravens would not be thought of as a starter by the casual fan, or even heard of by the casual fan. The talent is absolutely there, though. The Ravens defense is as underrated as any in the league and the offense is somehow getting consistent high caliber performances from Justin Forsett to augment the Ravens passing attack. Now that they have Steve Smith they have another play in their arsenal than the “deep throw and hope for a pass interference”. I will be very surprised if they don’t win the division.