Cincinnati Bengals win AFC North with Steelers loss to Ravens

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The Cincinnati Bengals are AFC North Champions for the second time in three years.

The Cincinnati Bengals are AFC North champions once again. After a dominant 2015 season, capped by a strange turn of events on Sunday, Cincinnati was finally rewarded a home playoff game a day before the Bengals will face the Denver Broncos.

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It took the Pittsburgh Steelers blowing what seemed to be an easy win in Baltimore, but the Bengals will take whatever they can get. After winning 11 of its first 14 games, Cincinnati deserved the division title. Now, a win in Denver could clinch a first-round bye for the Bengals, who will appreciate the time off with

Andy Dalton

nursing a

thumb injury

.

In an even stranger turn of events, the New England Patriots lost to the New York Jets. This game may not seem like a huge deal, but it actually has several implications that directly impact Cincinnati.

  1. The Kansas City Chiefs have clinched a playoff berth (they’re a scary matchup for Cincinnati)
  2. The Jets can make the playoffs with a Week 17 win over the Bills
    • The Steelers will miss the playoffs if the Jets win next week
  3. If the Bengals beat the Broncos tomorrow night, they could still become AFC’s 1 seed

If the Bengals win tomorrow night, they’ll likely need a Week 17 win over the Ravens and a Patriots loss to become the 1 seed, meaning that Cincinnati won’t be able to rest its starters. The Bengals would most likely play Denver, Houston or Kansas City in the second round of the playoffs if they win tomorrow night.

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If the Bengals lose tomorrow night, they’ll face either the Jets or Steelers in the first round, based on what happens in Week 17. As of now, the Jets are the team more likely to end up earning the 6 seed. A matchup with New York would be good news for Cincinnati; the Bengals have taken care of the Jets in recent years.

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