It is still sort of odd to see the Cincinnati Bengals atop the AFC North standings. The Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers have dominated the division for so long that their place atop the standings started to be assumed. Now the Steelers are in the basement, and the Ravens are battling the Cleveland Browns for the right to play second fiddle.
For those who don't handle change well, the Ravens are still favorites over the Browns at least. The Browns have more than a puncher's chance of taking down the Ravens as 2.5-point underdogs at home, however. Experts agree. At ESPN, 4-of-13 panel members picked Cleveland. At Yahoo! the ratio improved to 1-of-3, and at SB Nation it fell to 1-of-5. Then there's the CBS crew, which actually tabbed the Browns as favorites with 7-of-9 members siding with the home team.
Pete Prisco was among the seven Browns-backers, and explained the pick thusly:
The Ravens are coming out of a bye and need to get it going to try to keep pace with the Bengals. If they lose here, they have problems. Jason Campbell was solid for the Browns at Kansas City. Look for him to continue to play well here.
Jason Campbell makes all the difference in a duel against a man who signed the richest-ever contract for an NFL player this past offseason, apparently. The times, they are a-changing.