After nine weeks of action, where do AFC North teams stand in the grand scheme of the NFL? We break that down below.
6) Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers make the jump to number 6 all the way from 9 last week after their impressive win over the Giants in new Meadowlands Stadium. The final score was 24-20, but the game wasn’t really that close. The Steelers dominated the defending champs on both sides of the ball. The NFL’s best defense continued its dominance by holding the explosive Giants offense to just 182 total yards.
The Steelers have won three straight and you can pencil them in for a fourth as the Kansas City Chiefs come into Pittsburgh for Monday night football this week. After some early season blunders I think it’s pretty clear that the Steelers are the team to beat in the division.
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8) Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens did it again. Somehow the Ravens scraped together another win, however this time they had to come back against the lowly Browns. It took a 4th quarter TD to allow win a game that they should have had control of before half time. However, as Bill Parcells quipped “you are what your record says you are,” and the Ravens are 6-2 and first in the AFC North. We’ll find out how truly good they are soon enough; three of their next four games are against division rival Pittsburgh.
26) Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals got beat by Peyton Manning and company this week, but not without putting up a fight. They picked him off twice and kept the game close throughout. A loss is a loss, but I think it could be called an encouraging loss. No rest for the weary however, the defending champs come to town in week 10 and they’ll be angry after getting beat at home by Pittsburgh.
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30) Cleveland Browns
The Browns put up a very tough fight against division rival Baltimore this week. In fact, they really outplayed the Ravens everywhere except the red zone. Had the Browns been able to get a touchdown at least once rather than 5 field goals, the game could have been very different. The defense played pretty well against Ray Rice and contained Joe Flacco. The road isn’t getting much easier though with Dallas and Pittsburgh coming up in the next two weeks.