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AFC playoff picture: Steelers sit in fifth after win over Bengals

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The Steelers went from 10th place in the AFC to fifth in just one week, spelling out clearly how competitive the AFC is. The divisional win, coupled with Cleveland losing to break up a 3-way tie, moves the Steelers over the Ravens in the division. Losses by San Diego and Kansas City move them into fifth place in the AFC.

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The Steelers did in Week 14 what the Baltimore Ravens failed to do in two tries this season.

They defeated the Cincinnati Bengals.

In doing that, the Steelers took over second place in the AFC North. Both teams sit at 8-5, a half-game behind the Bengals who still lead the AFC North at 8-4-1. With a loss by the Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona, and the Patriots' defeat of San Diego, the Steelers assume the fifth seed in the AFC playoff hunt heading into Week 15.

The Steelers have a 3-2 record in the division, compared to Baltimore's 2-3 record.

The Bengals beat the Ravens head-to-head in two games this season and were defeated by the Browns in the one time the teams have played this season. The Ravens face the Jaguars in Baltimore in Week 15, followed by playoff- hopeful Houston on the road, ending their season at home in Baltimore against the Browns. The Steelers are at Atlanta in Week 15, followed by a home game against the Chiefs and ending at home with a rematch against the Bengals.

The Chiefs fell out of sixth place in the AFC with a loss at Arizona Sunday.

Essentially, everything that needed to happen on Sunday, with the exception of the Ravens defeating Miami, happened. But just ask San Diego what can happen in a week, or Kansas City. The Chargers had a one-game advantage and the fifth seed before their loss on Sunday, and the Chiefs used to be in contention for the AFC West title.

With three games left in the season, there's no margin for error. Pittsburgh travels to Atlanta to take on the streaky Falcons in Week 15. After that, they host the Chiefs and Bengals to end the season.