Around the AFC North: Post-Week 8 Notes

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Nov 1, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) reaches the ball across the goal line for a touchdown as Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay (L) and defensive back Ross Cockrell (R) defend during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Bengals won 16-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals (7-0)

Last week, I said that if the Bengals were able to upset (that’s right, the Steelers were favored on Sunday) Pittsburgh in Week 8, the Bengals would all but lock up the division. That’s looking truer and truer by the week. Cincinnati has a 3.5-game lead over the struggling Steelers, and Pittsburgh just lost its best offensive player for the year.

Andy Dalton has been phenomenal this season, and while he threw two interceptions on Sunday, there’s a strong argument to make that his first interception shouldn’t have happened and his second interception was essentially a punt. People love to bash Dalton, but he has been a top-five quarterback this season.

The Bengals have shown some serious guts in 2015, holding on to come back in the two biggest games they’ve played so far. More impressively, the Bengals have shown that they can win both in dominant fashion and by making a comeback. Unlike the 2014 Bengals, who folded every time they lost the lead, the 2015 Bengals remain confident despite adversity.

The Bengals are now serious contenders for a first-round bye in the playoffs, despite the fact that both Denver and New England remain undefeated. Maybe the yearlong tradition of one-and-done’s would change if Cincinnati’s first playoff game took place in the second week of playoff action. And if the Bengals end up as the three seed, they’ll get to face the AFC’s lowest-seeded playoff team. It looks like a win-win situation for Cincinnati at this point.

Bengals stun Steelers with 16-10 win (Stripe Hype)

Bengals: Week 8 Social Media Recap (Stripe Hype)

Shawn Williams secures game-changing interception (Cincy Jungle)

Week 8 Bengals vs Steelers: What We Learned (Cincy Jungle)

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