The AFC North divisional race isn't getting much closer, but the race for the second AFC Wild Card spot sure is. Let's look at what happened in Week 12 for the AFC North.
New York Jets (5-6) vs. Baltimore Ravens (5-6)
The New York Jets came out in this game, looking to continue to alternate wins and losses through their first eleven games. (First team in NFL history to alternate wins and losses in first ten games.) If they were to win on Sunday, the trend would continue.
The Baltimore Ravens, on the other hand, came into this game wanting to stay in the AFC Playoff Hunt. The Jets held the six-seed in the AFC, and the Ravens wanted to take that away from them.
In the first quarter, defense was huge for both teams. The final score at the end of the first was 3-3. It wouldn't get any better for the Jets in this one. Throughout the rest of the game, it was ALL Baltimore. Literally.
At halftime, the score was still close, 9-3. New York felt as if they could hop back into the lead at any moment. Just a single touchdown would give them a 10-9 lead, putting them in control of this game. Unfortunately for them, it never happened.
In the third quarter, Joe Flacco threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones, who burned ex-Raven Ed Reed for the miraculous catch and score.
Both teams would remain scoreless for the rest of the game, giving the Ravens a 19-3 win over the Jets.
The Ravens' defense did an amazing job at shutting the Jets out for the last three quarters of the game. Cornerback Corey Graham had two interceptions, which were key in the tyranny of Baltimore's defense in this one.
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-6) vs. Cleveland Browns (4-7)
This divisional matchup was big for both teams, especially since the loser would be very close to being knocked out of playoff contention.
The Steelers and Browns, just like the Ravens and Jets, only scored a total of six points in the first quarter. (3-3)
In the second quarter, the Steelers picked it up a bit. Ben Roethlisberger would find Antonio Brown for the 41-yard touchdown, making the score 10-3. It would be 13-3 at halftime.
In the third quarter, just like the New York Jets, the Browns would remain scoreless. The Steelers scored another touchdown, Roethlisberger to Emmanuel Sanders, to make it 20-3.
In the fourth, it wouldn't be too much different. William Gay would take an interception return to the house for seven more points, making it 27-3. Just when it looked to be over, Brandon Weeden answered with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon, and then the Browns successfully made the two-point conversion, making the score 27-11.
Unfortunately for Brandon Weeden and the Browns, that would be their only touchdown of the ball game, as they went on to lose to Pittsburgh, 27-11.
Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger continues to show out, scoring 11 touchdowns in four games, three of which ended in wins for Pittsburgh.
Browns' wide receiver Josh Gordon set a franchise record for most receiving yards in a single game with 14 catches for 237 yards and a touchdown. The record was previously held by Hall-of-Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome, who had 191 yards in a game against the New York Giants back in 1984.
AFC North Overview:
Cincinnati Bengals: @ San Diego Chargers (12/1 -- Week 13)
Cleveland Browns: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (12/1 -- Week 13)
Baltimore Ravens: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (11/28 -- Week 13 -- Thursday/Sunday Night Football)
Pittsburgh Steelers: @ Baltimore Ravens (11/28 -- Week 13 -- Thursday/Sunday Night Football)
Cincinnati Bengals: Did not play in Week 12.
Cleveland Browns: Browns' quarterback Jason Campbell was knocked out of the game in the third quarter with a head injury. Brandon Weeden had to finish the game out.
Baltimore Ravens: No notable injuries suffered in Week 12 win against the Jets.
Pittsburgh Steelers: No notable injuries suffered in Week 12 win against the Browns.
The AFC North didn't change much during Week 12. The Browns moved to last, while the Ravens moved up to third. The Bengals and Steelers are still first and second in the division.
Cincinnati Bengals: Leads division.
Pittsburgh Steelers: 2 games back.
Baltimore Ravens: 2 games back.
Cleveland Browns: 3 games back.
AFC Playoff Picture:
With the Jets losing, the Ravens winning, the Steelers winning, the Dolphins losing, and the Titans winning, the AFC Playoff Picture is much different than last year.
The Chiefs hold the fifth seed, as expected, and after Week 12, the Titans hold the sixth seed.
The biggest game on Thursday is undoubtedly the Ravens-Steelers game in Baltimore, which could possibly decide who takes the sixth seed in the AFC. As long as the Titans lose a game or two more, it's possible that there could easily be two AFC North teams in the playoffs again this year.