AFC North: Most Competitive Division in the NFL


WAR in the AFC North! Ok, I know I’m being a tad dramatic but let’s be honest, this is the most competitive division in the NFL this season, with each team in a dogfight with no shortage of fireworks. Each team is two games above .500; something that hasn’t happened in the NFL since 1935.

So what’s left in store for the AFC North with seven weeks remaining?

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AFC North Power Rankings: Browns, Ravens, and Bengals making playoff push
AFC North Power Rankings: Browns, Ravens, and Bengals making playoff push /

Dawg Pound Daily

  • AFC North standings have Steelers playoff chances combusting heading into Week 15Still Curtain
  • The Ravens are a 99.4% lock for the playoffs and the Kings of the AFCEbony Bird
  • Ravens defensive leader: "We're going to be here at the end of the day"Ebony Bird
  • Season-ending injury for Ravens Defensive Player of the Year candidate?Ebony Bird
  • Updated AFC North standings after Week 14: Bengals closing the gapStripe Hype
  • Already this year we’ve seen the Baltimore Ravens start 5-2, then fall to 5-4 after back-to-back losses to the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers, which slipped the Birds from first place to last in the division. Although Baltimore has the easiest remaining schedule of the rest of the division, with their remaining opponents combined total record being 25-30 (.454), Baltimore can only afford one more loss at this point.

    Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals spent two weeks at the top before getting shredded by a resurging Cleveland Browns. I had this team winning the division earlier in the season and now things just don’t look so simple. Cincy has the toughest remaining schedule in the division, as they still have five road games to look forward to. Their opponents have combined for a 34-31 (.523) record to this point. This could easily get out of hand and slip away if the Bengals do not take caution moving forward.

    Still feeling good about that big Dalton contract, Cincy?

    The Steelers may be the team with the most erratic play week to week. Ben Roethlisberger looks like a two-time Super Bowl winner one week and a rookie backup the next. It took only three days to see the Steelers, tied for first just last week, slip after being upset by the New York Jets. Their remaining opponents combine for a 25-27-2 record (.481), and fortunately for them, the Steelers will play their most difficult games at Heinz Field. They have the easiest road schedule left in the division.

    I never thought I’d say this, but, “Fear the Dog Pound.” The Cleveland Browns are good. Really good. And at 6-3, first place in the division, a Brian Hoyer led Browns team is the clear front-runner to take the AFC North. The Browns are the only team in the AFC North who have yet to win the division. And they’re playing like it. Their remaining opponents’ combined record is 32-30-2 (.512). Like the Steelers, the Browns have an easy road schedule ahead, culminating in a division showdown with Baltimore the final week of the regular season. Brian Hoyer is the last remaining quarterback in the division due for a big pay-day, and he’ll get one if Cleveland continues to perform as such.

    While there are no teams to beat such as Denver or New England, each team in the AFC North is near the top of the conference. If the season ended today, Cleveland and Cincinnati would make the playoffs, although right now, Baltimore and Pittsburgh are only one game behind. Hold on, tight. The rest of the season is going to be quite interesting.