Why they won't - The Baltimore Ravens
As mentioned above, the AFC North is a tight race this year, however, there is one team that's stood out among the rest: The Baltimore Ravens. While the Steelers and Browns are having a better season than many predicted, the Ravens are who concerns me the most in the division. I hate to admit it, but they look like a top team in the league right now, and all of their seven wins haven't come against cupcake teams either.
Two of those seven victories came against two NFC teams who were leading their respective division when they played, the Lions and Seahawks. These weren't close, last-second wins either. No this was utter domination, outscoring their opponents in those two games 75-9!
That is college football, Alabama vs some lowly G5/FCS opponent level of domination. Worse yet, they already have one over the Bengals at Paycor, which could end up hurting the stripes as the season winds down and the standings become more concrete.
The Bengals will get their chance at revenge in Baltimore next Thursday, but that game is basically a must-win, because if they don't then their chances of winning the division will be all but out the window.
As long as Lamar Jackson stays healthy (which has been the biggest reason why they haven't been able to lock up the AFC North the past couple of seasons), the Ravens will continue to win. If the Bengals slip up just once or twice more this season, then they'll likely be gunning for a Wild Card spot instead of a third-straight division title.
Why they will - Joe Burrow is 100%
While you can argue at which point during this four-game win streak Burrow got back to 100%, it's undeniable that he is back to his usual self now and has been since at least the bye week. He's not only playing the best football he's played all year but some of the best football of his career in the past couple of weeks against two teams that are nothing to scoff at.
He's back to being accurate with his throws, he's not checking it down and hoping whoever catches will do the rest, and, most importantly, he's back to being that mobile magician who somehow spins his way out of sacks and turns it into positive yards.
The Joe Burrow that we all know and love is back, and, with him leading the charge, the sky is the limit for the Bengals. We've seen it twice before and we could very well see the Bengals atop the North by the end of the year for a third time this season, so long as Burrow remains healthy.