Week 15 produced an end that will give the final two weeks of the season a lot of focus as the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals are still battling for the AFC North title. The division as a whole went 2-2 last week and still have three teams in contention for a playoff spot.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Ravens were victorious in week 15, while the Bengals and Cleveland Browns were losers.
We will start with the Ravens and if you haven't already been made aware of the exciting win that Baltimore produced on Monday Night Football against the Detroit Lions. Justin Tucker kicked six field goals in the game, which included a 61 yarder with under a minute remaining to give the Ravens a 18-16 victory. The Ravens defense played a phenomenal game against the high octane defense of the Lions, while the Ravens offensive line performed extremely well against Detroit's potent defensive line. Baltimore improved to 8-6 on the season, and if they win out, they will win the AFC North.
The Steelers and Bengals were also played in prime time in a Sunday Night inter-division matchup with big playoff implications for both teams. Pittsburgh put forth a pretty dominant performance, which included a 21-0 first quarter and rode that to a 30-20 victory. With the win, Pittsburgh kept their slim AFC Wildcard chances alive, but will need both the Ravens and Miami Dolphins to lose both of their remaining games to have a chance. The loss will make fans of the Bengals a bit nervous as they are now in jeopardy of losing the AFC North, which they have been in control of for most of the season, but can clinch the division this week with a win AND a Ravens loss.
Lastly, the Browns continue to fight, but again found themselves come up on the short end as the visiting Chicago Bears used a 21 point fourth quarter to complete their 38-31 come from behind victory. Cleveland led 24-17 at the end of the third quarter, but could not stop the Bears offense in the fourth quarter and suffered their tenth loss of the season. The big story was the fact that Browns WR Josh Gordon was held under a 100 yards after posting two 200 yard games and a couple other 100 yard performances of the last month and a half.
The AFC North is not a rarity, as the division is among the seven divisions that have yet to be clinched as only the AFC South has been decided already with the Indianapolis Colts being the winners. Week 16 could be the week the AFC North is clinched, or it could set up an essential AFC North Championship Game in week 17 when the Ravens and Bengals lock up in Cincinnati.
Week 16 AFC North Schedule
- Baltimore Ravens (8-6) vs New England Patriots (10-4) Sunday, 4:25 PM
- Cincinnati Bengals (9-5) vs Minnesota Vikings (4-9-1) Sunday, 1:00 PM
- Cleveland Browns (4-10) at New York Jets (6-8) Sunday, 1:00 PM
- Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8) at Green Bay Packers (7-6-1) Sunday, 4:25 PM
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