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AFC North Standings: Where teams sit after Week 15 action concludes

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The AFC North has become a three horse race, and it will truly be a sprint to the finish.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The wild and crazy AFC North race rolls on, but one team has fallen behind and is seemingly out of contention for the division crown. The other three teams remaining in the hunt are all alive and well not only in the division race, but also in the AFC Playoff picture.

After Week 15 action concluded, the AFC North remains as close as ever with only two games remaining in the 2014 season. How the teams shake out is anyone's guess.

The Cincinnati Bengals (8-5-1) remain in the top spot by the skin of their teeth as the tie against the Carolina Panthers is the only thing between them, Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Nonetheless, sitting in the driver seat the Bengals will host the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football in Week 16 before traveling to Heinz Field for the season finale against Pittsburgh.

The Bengals need to win their next two games to win the division, but losing their next two could leave them on the outside looking in with the crowded AFC playoff picture.

The Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) hold the second spot in the division with tie breakers separating them and Baltimore. The Steelers also control their own destiny in terms of the division race. Win their next two games, and they take the division crown. They will host the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati in back-to-back games at Heinz Field starting in Week 16. In fact, if the Steelers beat the Chiefs Sunday, they will guarantee themselves a spot in the playoffs for the firs time since 2012.

The Baltimore Ravens (9-5) sit in the third spot in the division looking up at both the Bengals and Steelers due to a poor conference record, but have the good fortune of the easiest remaining schedule of the 3 teams still vying for the division title. Baltimore will travel to play the Houston Texans this week, then will face Johnny Manziel and Cleveland in Week 17. Odds are the Ravens win those two games and find themselves back in the playoffs after missing them in 2013.

The Cleveland Browns (7-7) have lost back-to-back games and the Johnny Manziel era did not get off on a very good note as the Bengals defeated the Browns 30-0 in Week 15 action. The Browns have a tough road ahead as well as they turn their focus from the division title to a playoff birth. No longer in control of their own destiny, the Browns travel to play the Panthers in Week 16 and follow that up with a trip to M&T Bank Stadium to play the Ravens in Week 17. The Browns will not only have to win their final two games, but will also have to get help to make the postseason.

The AFC North race is nearing the final leg, and between the Steelers, Bengals and Ravens it is anyone's race to be had. Guessing who will be the winner just might be the million dollar question as teams turn their focus to Week 16 opponents.

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