The AFC North is arguably the most competitive division in the NFL. Currently, the Baltimore Ravens (8-5) sit atop the division. However, the Cleveland Browns (7-6) and Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) are not far behind. In addition, the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6-1) are still alive in the battle. The AFC North title race will come down to the wire, and there is a lot of discussion about which team will take it.
All Teams Still Alive in AFC North Title Race
The Ravens had an excellent start to their season, but have fallen off a cliff due to injuries. Many of their most important players have gotten injured, costing them quite a few games. They have managed to keep the score close in games where they did not perform as well as the scores would show. Key losses such as that of all-pro cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, as well as running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, have been crucial. They are also missing their top safety, Deshon Elliott, as well as their all-pro LT Ronnie Stanley.
There are many, many more injuries that have hurt the Ravens greatly. Most importantly, quarterback Lamar Jackson sustained an injury during the Ravens’ game against the Browns, but the Ravens believe Jackson will be back sooner than later. Nonetheless, the Ravens will need to find creative ways to overcome these injuries if they want any chance of coming away with the division title.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 14, 2021
The Browns have had a very up-and-down season by every definition of the term. At some points in the season, the Browns have looked absolutely unbeatable. However, they have been mostly held back by quarterback Baker Mayfield, who is having the worst statistical season of his career. Unfortunately for the Browns, Mayfield’s poor performance comes in a year when they were hoping to compete for a Super Bowl, but if Mayfield continues to play the way he has, their chances do not look very good.
In addition, Cleveland has been hit with a major outbreak that is leading many of their players to miss this weekend’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders. There is still a good chance they come away with a win, but it remains to be seen how much that will help them in their fight for a division championship.
Baker Mayfield throws a pick to Anthony Averrettpic.twitter.com/pmyzmHQprv
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 12, 2021
As for the Cincinnati Bengals, they have significantly overperformed all expectations for them heading into the season. Even if the Bengals make the playoffs in wild card, that would be quite a feat, considering that they were in the conversation for a top-10 draft pick before the season started. The Bengals offense has been exceptional, even without a top-tier offensive line.
There is a very good chance the Bengals can manage to squeeze out a division title. If they can finish games, play more consistently than they have of late, and if the cards can fall their way in other divisional matchups, the Bengals are still very much in the fight for an AFC North title.
Most accurate QBs on 15+ yard throws:
🎯 Kyler Murray
🎯 Justin Herbert
🎯 Tom Brady
🎯 Joe Burrow pic.twitter.com/h0cgvlbptl
— PFF (@PFF) December 15, 2021
One thing we know about Mike Tomlin-led teams is that they will never give up no matter what. The Steelers have by no means been a great team, but Tomlin’s Steelers will not let up until the end of the season. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has had one of the worse seasons of his career, and there are reports speculating as to whether he hangs up the cleats after this season or not.
Either way, the Steelers defense has one of the best personnel units in the league. If they can find a way to get themselves back on track, they are still very much in the hunt for this division title. Granted, the teams listed above are without question more likely to get it. However, any football fan worth their salt knows that doubting Mike Tomlin is not usually the best idea. Even if they do not pull out the division title, don’t expect the Steelers to go out without a fight.
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