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AFC North Standings: Where teams stand after Week 6 NFL action

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The AFC North remains the most competitive division, not only in the AFC, but in the NFL. The division breakdown is anything but clear heading to the halfway point of the 2014 season.

Gregory Shamus

The AFC North is the most complete and competitive division, not just in the AFC, but in the entire league. The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently sitting in the basement of the division with a 3-3 record. At .500, the Steelers would be in 2nd or 3rd place in every other division within the AFC, but the story in the AFC North isn't the Steelers.

The story in the division right now is the Cleveland Browns and their resurgence from division cellar-dwellers to contend for, not just a spot in the playoffs, but potentially the division crown. Both their play on the field and their upcoming schedule certainly indicate it's possible.

The Browns will travel to Florida to play the Jacksonville Jaguars this week, and will follow that with two home games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders. There's a strong likelihood the Cleveland Browns could be 6-2 at the midway point of their 2014 schedule.

Outside of Cleveland, leave it to the Cincinnati Bengals for throwing a wrench into the standings by tying the Carolina Panthers Sunday and moving their record to 3-1-1. Due to winning percentage, the Bengals hang onto first place in the division, but that could be in jeopardy looking at their upcoming schedule.

The Bengals travel to Indianapolis to play the Colts, then follow that road game with home games against the Baltimore Ravens and the Jaguars before the Browns come to Cincinnati.

The Ravens are the team that could move in the division standings based on their next few football games. After a home game Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, the Ravens travel to Cincinnati and then to Pittsburgh for a Sunday Night Football game against the Steelers. Those two games could be extremely significant in terms of the Ravens' standings within the division, as well as the standings of the  Bengals and Steelers.

Of all four AFC North teams, the Steelers possibly have the toughest row to hoe. The Houston Texans come to Heinz Field for a Monday Night Football game, then play host to the Colts and Ravens in consecutive weeks. Those three games could certainly make or break the Steelers' chances of competing within the division or even remaining a legitimate threat for a playoff spot.

Although still early in the 2014 season, as the Steelers demonstrated in 2013, a poor start can leave a team in a hole that they're unable to crawl out of. Within the AFC North, the next few weeks should be interesting.