Cincinnati Bengals: AFC North standings heading into Week 1 of 2021

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals‘ chances of making the playoffs this year probably would be higher if they didn’t play in the gauntlet that is the AFC North. Unfortunately, they do, and that makes their path to a winning record and saving Zac Taylor’s job much more difficult.

For now, all four teams in the AFC North are tied atop the division or sitting in the bottom of the AFC North depending on how you look at it. That won’t be the case after one week of action, as two teams face a playoff squad from a season ago and the other two’s games are interesting matchups.

We’ll start with the Bengals, who finished in last place once again and were the only team in the division not to make the postseason (nor did they even come close). The Bengals open the season at home against the Vikings, which is a winnable game for them.

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The Steelers and Browns will face the two AFC Championship representatives with the Steelers traveling to Buffalo to face the Bills and the Browns heading to Kansas City for a date with the AFC champion Chiefs. It won’t be an easy stretch for either of those teams.

Lastly, the Ravens play the Raiders on Monday and will be the first team to play in front of fans at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, which opened last year but didn’t have fans due to COVID-19. While the Raiders aren’t a tough team, the fans could make that game more interesting.

Let’s take a look at the AFC North teams’ matchups individually.