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AFC North Recap: Scary scene in Cincinnati puts things into perspective

The football world slows to a halt after the scary scene in Paycor Stadium Monday night.

Buffalo Bills v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The sixteenth week of NFL football is behind us, and it was quite the week in the AFC North division. With that said, it is time to see how the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns all did in the week that was.

Cleveland Browns - 24
Washington Commanders - 10

This was by far the best game of Deshaun Watson’s short tenure with the Browns. Was it fantastic? No, but it was a step in the right direction. It likely gave the fans in Cleveland something to be hopeful for in the future. However, the team they played started Carson Wentz, which meant the game was doomed from the start for the Commanders. What’s next for the Browns? They can eliminate the Steelers from any thought of the playoffs by beating them in Pittsburgh Sunday. After that? Not much considering the draft capital they sent to the Houston Texans to acquire Watson.

Pittsburgh Steelers - 16
Baltimore Ravens - 13

Back-to-back game-winning drives for Kenny Pickett? Yes, please! The Steelers found a way to stay alive, and their playoff hopes are alive and well when you consider all which will need to transpire for the team to be the No. 7 seed it isn’t as far fetched as you might have thought. The win over the Ravens on Sunday Night Football wasn’t just dramatic, but it felt as if it was a changing of the guard. A page being turned with the organization. Despite how the season ends, it is safe to say the vast majority of Steelers fans are excited about the future of the organization and the trajectory of the team.

Cincinnati Bengals — Suspended
Buffalo Bills

I delayed writing this article based on the fact the Bengals, the only other AFC North team to play in Week 17, didn’t complete their game. The Monday Night Football contest was shut down, and rightfully so. When Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field after tackling Tee Higgins in the first quarter, it felt like the sports world came to an abrupt halt. To an extent, it still feels that way. Somehow the NFL will have to figure out what to do with the prime time game which has serious significance for both of these AFC contenders, but for now the hope is Hamlin is able to make a full recovery. Until that point, not much else matters for the Bills. Somehow the Bills have to prepare for the New England Patriots in Week 18, and that’s something which seems like an extremely difficult task at this time, and rightfully so.

AFC North Standings

Cincinnati Bengals - 11-4
Baltimore Ravens - 10-6
Pittsburgh Steelers - 8-8
Cleveland Browns - 7-9

Week 18 AFC North Schedule:

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns — 1:00 p.m. ET, Sunday
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals — 1:00 p.m. ET, Sunday

A look ahead...

The final opponents for all AFC North teams:

Baltimore Ravens: at Bengals
Cleveland Browns: at Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers: vs. Browns
Cincinnati Bengals: vs. Ravens