Skip to main content

What's Happening In The AFC North?


The AFC North has some of the league's most compelling storylines with just three weeks left in the regular season.

The division has a team vying for the top overall seed in the AFC, another in the hunt for the wild-card spot, and the two others are in the mix for the No. 1 overall draft pick. And the division also has the always-entertaining Johnny Manziel.

Here's an overview of the division:

Division Standings

Cincinnati Bengals (10-3)
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)
Baltimore Ravens (4-9)
Cleveland Browns (3-10)

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals entered last weekend tied with the Patriots for the best record in the AFC, but their hopes of getting the top seed took a serious blow when starting quarterback Andy Dalton fractured his thumb on his throwing hand. He may miss the rest of the season, and at best, could reportedly return for the playoffs. The Bengals will now turn to backup AJ McCarron for the last three games of the season. In addition to losing their starting quarterback Sunday, the Bengals also fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers 33-20. That outcome not only hurt Cincinnati's chances of getting the top overall seed in the conference, but it kept alive the possibility of the team ultimately losing the division lead. If the Bengals lose their next three games with McCarron at the helm, then the Steelers will have an opportunity to overtake them down the stretch.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers withstood the early season storm of key injuries, and they are currently one of the hottest teams in the league. They have won four of their last five games, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is playing like his old self after missing four games earlier in the year because of a knee injury. Running back DeAngelo Williams is also enjoying a resurgent season in Pittsburgh,and has acclimated himself to the starting lineup just fine after the season-ending knee injury to Le'Veon Bell. Williams is 12th in the league with 773 rushing yards, and the Steelers have leaned on him lately by giving him the ball 56 times in the last two games. The Steelers are currently outside the AFC playoffs –the Jets and Chiefs are both 8-5 and would make it over them – and they can't afford to lose any ground in their final three games against the Broncos, Ravens and Browns.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns received an injection of excitement last week with Manziel back in the starting lineup. Manziel played well in the 24-10 victory over the 49ers, throwing for 270 yards, one touchdown and an  interception. The second-year quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner has the ability to be an electric playmaker, and he flashed those skills in the win over San Francisco. Putting Manziel in the starting lineup allows the Browns to see what they have in the former first-round pick, and it also seems to have brought some life to a Cleveland team that had lost seven-straight games. The Browns are now tied with the Titans and Chargers for the worst record in the league. How the Browns finish could have a direct impact on the Ravens' draft spot. If Manziel and the Browns get hot for their final three games of the year, then the Ravens could end up with a higher draft pick next spring.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content