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Around the AFC North: Are Steelers Catchable After Loss in Denver?


Steelers: AFC North Winner Isn't Decided Yet

Ben Roethlisberger's late-game interception Sunday was the Steelers' final mistake in a 24-17 loss to the Denver Broncos. Four costly turnovers by the Steelers, including two near the goal line, negated more than 500 yards of total offense.

The Steelers (7-3-1) still have a cushion over the Ravens (6-5) in the AFC North. But that cushion would shrink if Pittsburgh loses at home next week to the Los Angeles Chargers (8-3), and if the Ravens win in Atlanta against the Falcons (4-7).

Pittsburgh has a difficult December schedule facing three of the NFL's best teams – the Chargers, New England Patriots (8-3) and New Orleans Saints (10-1). The Steelers had won six straight before Sunday's loss, but they needed a miraculous comeback to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11, and Pittsburgh made too many miscues to beat Denver on Sunday.

The Steelers are not playing as well as they were two weeks ago. The Ravens have a two-game winning streak. Is the division race about to get interesting? The answer to that question will be clearer after next weekend.

Browns: Feisty, Playing Well and a Week 17 Handful

The Browns continued their strong play under Interim Head Coach Gregg Williams, winning their second straight with a 35-20 decision over the Cincinnati Bengals. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield showed his competitive fire after the game, giving a not-so-warm handshake to former Browns head coach Hue Jackson. Mayfield is not thrilled that Jackson joined Cincinnati's coaching staff just days after he was fired last month.

"Left Cleveland, goes down to Cincinnati. I don't know," Mayfield said. "It's just somebody that was in our locker room asking us to play for him and then goes to a different team we play twice a year. Everybody can have their spin on it, but that's how I feel."

Mayfield isn't pulling any punches, and nor are the Browns (4-6-1), who have scored 63 points in their past two games behind the rookie quarterback and rookie running back Nick Chubb.

The Browns beat the Ravens, 12-9, in Week 4, the only game this season in which the Ravens did not score a touchdown. They visit Baltimore in the regular-season finale on Dec. 30, and it's possible the Ravens could need a victory to make the playoffs. If that is the scenario, the Browns will embrace the chance to be spoilers.

Bengals: Andy Dalton Placed on IR With Thumb Injury

The Bengals (5-6) lost another game and lost starting quarterback Andy Dalton to a third-quarter thumb injury. After undergoing more tests Monday, Dalton has been placed on season-ending injured reserve.

Jeff Driskel finished Sunday's game at quarterback and will be called upon to make his first NFL start. The Bengals claimed quarterback Tom Savage off waivers to back up Driskel.

Cincinnati has lost five of its last six after a 4-1 start. The Bengals are ranked last in the NFL in total defense, yielding 439.6 yards per game. They have given up at least 35 points in four of their last five games.

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