Down Year For AFC North

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Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith was rooting for the Bengals in Sunday's wild-card matchup.

He wanted them to carry the AFC North flag.

"I wanted Cincy to pull it off," he tweeted after their 27-10 loss. "Our division had a down year but if they would've went far it would've made up for it."

Smith is right. The AFC North was weaker this season than it had been in recent years.

With the Bengals' exit, the AFC North is officially done. It's the division's earliest exit since 2007.

This year also marked the first time since 2007 that the AFC North only had one team in the playoffs. It was a far drop from 2011, when the Ravens, Steelers and Bengals all reached the postseason.

The AFC North finished with a losing record overall (31-33) this season. Only the NFC East (28-36) and NFC North (28-36) were worse. The NFC South also went 31-33.

Baltimore played its part in the division's slide this year, as the Ravens didn't reach the playoffs for the first time in six seasons and finished* *8-8. The Steelers went 8-8 for the second year in a row. The Browns lost their last seven games and went 4-12.

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