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AFC North Roundup: Steelers’ Week 15 win keeps them in control of the division race

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Taking a look around the AFC North heading into Week 16.

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With Week 15 of the NFL schedule nearly officially in the books, it’s time to take a look back at those teams who call the AFC North home to see how they fared and what the standings look like after this week’s action.

The first goal for each team in the NFL is to win its division. Doing so guarantees both a playoff spot and a home playoff game, so even early-season games are important when it comes to divisional rankings.

Let’s take a spin around the AFC North to check on the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Week 15 Results

Saturday

Cleveland Browns - 17
Denver Broncos - 16

Well, I can’t believe I am saying this, but the Cleveland Browns are looking like more than just a ‘competitive football team’. Their win over the Broncos on the road was gutsy, and showed some serious promise for the Cleveland faithful. While they won’t make the playoffs this year, the future looks bright for Baker Mayfield and company.

Sunday

Cincinnati Bengals - 30
Oakland Raiders - 16

The Bengals snap a lengthy losing streak, and their players are dropping like flies. Already without Andy Dalton and AJ Green, the team might be without their best wide receiver left in Tyler Boyd after injuring his MCL in Week 15. It could mean one less weapon the Steelers have to defend in Week 17.

Baltimore Ravens - 20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 12

This game wasn’t pretty. From the conditions to the play, it was sloppy all around. The Lamar Jackson era has officially begun in Baltimore, and it will be interesting to see how teams continue to defend Baltimore’s offense with Jackson at the helm. Running the ball consistently for more than 15 times is a great equation to get your quarterback injured.

Pittsburgh Steelers - 17
New England Patriots - 10

Were you like me and thinking to yourself when Tom Brady got the football back needing a touchdown to tie it and thinking, “I’ve seen this movie too many times before.” Well, for once the script didn’t end the usual way for Steelers fans. The work doesn’t end now for Pittsburgh as they have to beat the New Orleans Saints in Week 16 if they hope to continue to control their own destiny, and not rely on the help of others.

Week 16 Schedule

Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers - Saturday, 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns - Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET kickoff
Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints - Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff

AFC North Standings

Pittsburgh Steelers - 8-5-1
Baltimore Ravens - 8-6
Cleveland Browns - 6-7-1
Cincinnati Bengals - 6-8

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Let us know what you think about the division after Week 13 in the comment section below. Do you see this being a powerhouse division? Which teams are contenders and which ones are nothing more than pretenders?