AFC North Power Rankings: Ravens still have something to prove

Ravens, Lamar Jackson Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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Ravens, AFC North
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4. Pittsburgh Steelers, 5-5-1, third in AFC North

While it is never ideal to watch a division rival win, especially when it puts them right on the Ravens’ heels, seeing the Steelers lose is an evergreen treat.

Pittsburgh was demolished by the Bengals, falling 41-10 in Cincinnati, adding insult to the 24-10 loss the Steelers suffered to Cincy in Pittsburgh.

Not so long ago the Steelers appeared to be rounding into form and making a push to retain their AFC North title, but a tie to Detroit, a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, and this week’s loss to the Bengals leave them staring up at a bunch of AFC teams.

More worryingly, their performances have reverted back to how they looked in Weeks 2-4. Save a few nice deep throws down the sideline, the Steelers have very little downfield threat.

They can’t attack the middle of the field and only really have success on short passes underneath or to Najee Harris.

What’s more, the growth they saw in the running game has disappeared, managing just 251 yards on 64 carries in their last three games — that’s 83.6 yards a game at 3.9 yards per carry — Big Ben has been under pressure and getting hit, and the receivers aren’t making plays after the catch.

Even the usually reliable defense is struggling. T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, and Minkah Fitzpatrick are among the very best at their positions, but no one else on this defense has been able to step up in the last few weeks.

Pittsburgh has the league’s fifth-worst rush defense by yards (1464) and is allowing tied most yards per carry (4.8). In the last three weeks alone, they’ve allowed 586 yards on 103 attempts (5.6 YPC).

The Steelers’ season is falling apart, and outside of Mike Tomlin’s coaching, there don’t seem to be many strengths for this team to lean on.