For the second common NFL season in a row, AFC North is heading for a photograph end. It is as much as everybody to win inside three weeks.
In 2020, the Steelers (12-4) defeated the Ravens (11-5) and Browns (11-5) for the division title. All three made the playoffs within the prolonged 7-team area of the AFC.
In 2021 the Bengals (8-6) crashed the parity occasion, within the first place after week 15 with a head-to-head tiebreaker towards the Ravens (8-6). The Browns (7-6) can set their data once more with a win over the Raiders on Monday. The Steelers (7-6-1) are actually in final place, however are solely half a sport behind.
Not like final season, it might be troublesome to get three groups again into the league. The data aren’t that spectacular with 4 groups concerned and that hurts within the wildcard race towards the Colts (8-6), Chargers (8-6) and Payments (8-6) – the present No. 5 by way of No. 7 seeds within the AFC.
Profitable the division may very well be the one approach to get a ticket for a workforce from the north. Based mostly on the present leaderboard and the schedules for the final three video games, try the newest breakdowns and predictions right here.
MORE: Up to date AFC, NFC playoff image after week 15
NFL Playoff Image: AFC North
1. Bengal (8-6)
Division file: 3-1
Division wins: at Steelers (week 3), at Ravens (week 7), vs. Steelers (week 11)
Remaining schedule: vs. Ravens, vs. Chiefs, at Browns
The Bengals have the division’s finest QB this season, Joe Burrow. You possibly can play offensively with explosive passing and let the ball cross if needed. Their protection has had some glitches but in addition a variety of good outcomes contemplating how a lot they’ve invested to make it higher. They stroll the fantastic line between full workforce and inconsistent workforce, which confirms that they’re a promising younger workforce.
Getting the staggering Ravens house subsequent after breaking by way of towards them earlier is an effective place. That’s made up for by the ardent Chiefs who come to Cincinnati. The Bengals had been crushed by the Browns at house in Week 19, however the Battle of Ohio rematch is more likely to be a tossup. It helps to have the perfect file within the division and to complete a minimum of 4-2 within the Northern sport could be big.
2. Ravens (8-6)
Division file: 1-3
Division win: towards Browns (week 12)
Remaining schedule: at Bengals, vs. Rams, vs. Steelers
The Ravens had been fantastic on offense with Tyler Huntley enjoying Supersub for Lamar Jackson towards the Packers, however their low-injury protection and makeshift conventional operating sport caught up with them with much less comeback punch within the fourth quarter. All three remaining video games look very powerful contemplating how NFC is enjoying Los Angeles and Baltimore has already misplaced to each Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
John Harbaugh did an admirable job of protecting his workforce collectively and being on the verge of the playoffs. However perhaps he’ll run out of fuel on the finish of a prolonged marathon.
3. Shades of brown (7-6)
Division file: 2-2
Division wins: in Bengal (week 9). vs. ravens (week 14)
Remaining schedule: at Packers, at Steelers, vs. Bengals
The Browns must beat the Raiders as a result of they cannot afford to drop to .500. That might put them in final place within the division and block them behind the wildcard leaders with the Raiders, Dolphins and Broncos at 7-7. The issue for Cleveland past the massive COVID-19 checklist challenges towards Las Vegas is the quick turnaround week to play at 11-3 Inexperienced Bay on Christmas Saturday. It is powerful to remain on the street in Pittsburgh week 17, and Cincinnati in week 18 can be significantly better ready for the rematch.
Will the Browns round Nick Mullens after which Baker Mayfield get sufficient assault to again up the protection and win sufficient? That is exhausting to reply as a result of it actually might go by hook or by crook.
4. Steelers (7-6-1)
Division file: 2-2
Division wins: at Browns (week 8), vs. Ravens (week 13)
Remaining schedule: with chiefs. towards Browns, at Ravens
The Steelers wanted this profitable rally on the Titans to maintain their playoff probabilities in week 15. She continues to look at the house sport towards the lowly Lions. Like Tennessee, Pittsburgh pulled previous Cleveland and Baltimore in early conferences, however the looming rematches can simply go the opposite means.
Mike Tomlin has educated the Steelers nicely to compete, however he most likely did not count on the offense to be so restricted at instances and so forth the protection to be so overwhelmed at instances, leading to inconsistent complementary soccer. The sport towards the ragged Chiefs in Kansas Metropolis is a foul break within the remaining interlude.
Who will win the AFC Nord?
Consider it or not, the Bengals are your finest wager to get the job carried out with a 10-7 file. They did not like being not noted final season they usually play like that. Not like the opposite groups, they’ve the fewest issues and it was big to dig after the Denver week 15 win.
Cincinnati has constructed and complemented a powerful resume within the division. There’s some confidence that the Bengals can go 2-1 whereas everybody else in Division 1-2 appears like the last word situation.
With all of the crossover division play and hard opponents popping up exterior the north, just one is heading for double digit wins. 9-8 appears to be like just like the cap to the Ravens and Browns because the Steelers headed for .500.
9 wins within the AFC will not be sufficient for a playoff place. That is why the 7-7 Dolphins and Broncos really feel up to now behind not being 8-6 after week 15.
Queen Metropolis hasn’t been king within the north since 2015, however look to the Bengals to finish their shock in 2021 and obtain that standing.