After one week of the 2023 NFL season, the AFC North standings look like this:
Power rankings are a bit different than the standings. An opinion about where the team sits currently along with some projection of how good they can be going forward. Last week, the Browns were ranked at the bottom with a need to prove themselves. After a huge victory, what do the rankings look like now?
#1 Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
Week 1 Result: Win vs Houston, 25-9
Up Next: At Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
After one week, it was a close debate whether to put the Browns all the up to number one or because last week Baltimore was ahead of Cleveland, to keep them ahead here. I ultimately decided on putting the Ravens at #1 for now.
It is going to be tough for them to stay in this position because their top running back, J.K. Dobbins is out for the season with an achilles tear. They will have to rely on Gus Edwards, who has had his fair share of injuries the last couple seasons, and Justice Hill who had 8 carries for 9 yards but with two touchdowns in their win.
If there was one positive for the Ravens other than winning against Houston in a game where they suffered some injuries, it was rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers. Flowers caught nine passes on ten targets for 78 yards. Flowers should be the main focal point of the offense while Dobbins is out.
#2 Cleveland Browns (1-0)
Week 1 Result: Win vs Cincinnati, 24-3
Up Next: At Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)
The Cleveland Browns jump to second after being fourth in last week’s rankings due to a total defensive domination of the Cincinnati Bengals. The Browns defense held the Bengals to a staggering 142 yards of total offense in their week one win.
If the Browns want to capture the top spot in these rankings, they are going to need a better offensive output from their quarterback Deshaun Watson. Yes, the weather conditions affected both quarterbacks in this game. But in Cleveland, these conditions more than they do not and Watson needs to have the ability to have success in them.
Up next for the Browns is an extremely tough task in facing the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football in Pittsburgh where the Browns have not won in the regular season since 2003. But, they have been ending numerous streaks over the last few seasons with a playoff win (26 years), week one win (18 years) and home opener win (19 years) so anything can happen.
#3 Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
Week 1 Result: Loss at Cleveland, 24-3
Up Next: vs Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
If Joe Burrow is Superman, then his kryptonite is Myles Garrett and the Cleveland Browns. His record in his short career is now 1-5 against Cleveland. Burrow is a good football player who has a history of starting off slow. Last season, the Bengals were 0-2 before going 10-2 the rest of the season including eight straight victories.
The good news for the Bengals this week is they face the Baltimore Ravens who were hit with some key injuries and they will be at home in Cincinnati where the Bengals were 6-1 last season.
#4 Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)
Week 1 Result: Loss vs San Francisco, 30-7
Up Next: vs Cleveland Browns (1-0)
The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered their biggest home loss with Mike Tomlin as the head coach against the San Francisco 49ers, 30-7. They have another tough task ahead of them in primetime on Monday Night Football when the Browns come into town. The Steelers have won 20 straight home games on Monday Night Football so they have to be pleased with this match-up.
If the Steelers want to have success against Cleveland, then they need to get off to a fast start. They fell behind 20-0 against the 49ers in week one forcing second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett to throw the ball 46 times while throwing two interceptions and getting sacked five times. The Steelers saw how good the Browns’ pass rush was in week one but Mike Tomlin said he was most impressed with the secondary play of the Browns’ defense.
The Steelers may be able to create some positive defensive plays because the Browns will be starting rookie Dawand Jones at right tackle. In 10 career games against the Browns, T.J. Watt has 15 sacks. That will be a key match-up to watch all game.
How would you rank the four AFC North teams going into Week 2? Tell us why we were wrong or right and share your thoughts in the comment section below