AFC North Power Rankings: Week 17


We finally have clarity in the AFC North.  The Bengals and Steelers will meet this Sunday in prime time in the biggest game of the season for

Call me crazy, but this completely new Steelers team is the biggest threat to the Patriots in the AFC.

either team.  The winner of that game will earn the division title, with the Ravens following close behind for a chance at a wild card spot.  It is shaping up to be an action packed last week of the season.  Here are your AFC North power rankings going into the final weekend.

53. Oh, Browns.  You were on top of the division at one point, and look at you now.  Conner Shaw is your starting quarterback and “Johnny Football” came out saying that he should have taken his rookie season more seriously.  Well, I mean what can you expect when you’re a fan of a team from Cleveland.  This season is down the toilet but, all in all, it was actually a good season for the Browns.  The worst they can finish is 7-9 and it remains to be seen whether or not they have found a franchise quarterback.  That’s definitely an improvement from where the Browns have been at in recent seasons.. 7-8. Previous: 4th. Cleveland Browns. 4. team

Baltimore Ravens. 3. team. 26. The Ravens were seen as one of the few contenders to take down the mighty Patriots only a few short days ago, but all that has changed now.  They suffered a devastating loss to the Texans and their 9,999th string quarterback.  Now the Ravens will be done for the season if  the San Diego Chargers can get a win against the Chiefs this week.  The defense is still stellar (only allowing 1 touchdown against the Texans) but the offense still leaves some to be desired.  If the Ravens do mange to make the playoffs they could be a dangerous team, however they are teetering on the brink right now.. 9-6. Previous: 2nd

team. 56. I’ve been dubbed a Bengal hater before for what I’ve said in this column and I doubt what I’m going to say next is going to make that notion go away.  Despite the popular opinion, I don’t find the Bengals win on Monday night that impressive.  Hear me out real quick, though.  There were rumors that Peyton was battling an injury an it is clear that those rumors were true, the Bengals essentially got handed a touchdown Jeremy Hill’s run due to multiple missed tackles/bad angles, and the Broncos were playing without two of their starting linebackers.  Don’t get me wrong, the Bengals certainly played an impressive game. I just think that the win should be more attributed to the Broncos playing bad and making mistakes than the Bengals playing good.  Even when you look at all of the turnovers the Bengals created, they were all pretty much handed to them.  Don’t listen too me if you don’t want, but I’m not convinced that the Bengals will go anywhere in the playoffs.. 10-4-1. Previous: 3rd. Cincinnati Bengals. 2

55. I have forgotten about all of the criticism I gave the Steelers earlier in the season.  This is a completely different team in every sense of the word than it was just a month or two ago.  The offense is still one of the most dangerous, if not the most dangerous, in the NFL.  They’re good enough to win you playoff games if you just provide them with a little bit of support.  That’s just what the defense has been doing lately, they’ve even gone beyond that.  They are, in their own right, playing good enough to win games right now.  Pro Bowl snub Cam Heyward, the age defying James Harrison, and the rest of the front-seven are creating pressure play in and play out.  The best off-ball linebacking corps in the league, yes I said it, of Timmons, Williams, Spence, and Shazier is cleaning up whatever ball carrier does manage to get past the front line.  Last but certainly not least, this secondary isn’t playing awful anymore.  Yes, they did give up over 300 yards to Alex Smith, but the defense also allowed a big fat zero in the touchdown category.  Bend but don’t break, as their motto has always been.  Call me crazy, but this completely new Steelers team is the biggest threat to the Patriots in the AFC.  They’ve showed before that they can work playoff magic when they’re coming in on a winning streak, why not again.. 10-5. Previous: 1st. Pittsburgh Steelers. 1. team

Next: Steelers vs. Bengals: Players to Watch