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AFC North Preview: Week 16

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With their win over the New York Jets in Week 15, the Baltimore Ravens clinched the AFC North for the second year in a row. There are still two weeks remaining in the season, however, as two teams from the North fight to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Baltimore Ravens (12-2)

The Ravens have an opportunity to clinch the top-seed in the AFC and secure home-field advantage through the playoffs with a win on Sunday.

Baltimore’s last defeat of the season came against Cleveland in Week 4 when they lost 40-25 at home. Since then, the Ravens emerged victorious in 10-straight games and have won the AFC North for the second year in a row. Baltimore will have a chance at revenge this Sunday against the now lifeless Browns.

The Ravens have all hands on deck for Week 16 as no players missed practice due to injuries. QB Lamar Jackson can officially put the MVP race to bed with another strong performance, although it would take a lot for him to lose it at this point. Jackson needs just one touchdown pass to break the franchise record for touchdown passes in a single season.

Cleveland Browns (6-8)

Cleveland entered the season as the favorites to win the division but now barely cling to hope of making the postseason. A loss to Baltimore this week would eliminate the Browns from playoff contention and ensure yet another losing season.

Even more controversy surrounded the Browns this past week after reports surfaced of several players from the team telling members of the Arizona Cardinals, to come get them, most notably WR Jarvis Landry.

With tension from a disappointing season boiling over, Freddie Kitchens may be facing his final two games as Cleveland’s head coach.

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6)

With possession of the sixth seed in the AFC, Pittsburgh currently controls their playoff destiny, starting against the 5-9 New York Jets on Sunday.

The Steelers could be getting a huge boost on offense if star WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is able to play on Sunday. As of right now Smith-Schuster is a game-time decision after missing over a month of action with a knee injury.

With the Tennessee Titans hot on their heels at 8-6, Pittsburgh must rebound after a loss on Sunday Night Football to the Buffalo Bills. The margin for error is almost nonexistent for the Steelers at this point in the year.

Cincinnati Bengals (1-13)

With two weeks remaining in the season, the Bengals are close to escaping with the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

QB Andy Dalton could be playing his final two games in Cincinnati if the Bengals do in fact select LSU signal-caller Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick. The 3-13 Miami Dolphins could have something to say about that on Sunday, though.

With only two weeks, all hope is pretty much lost of WR A.J. Green playing this season. Green suffered a foot injury before the start of the season and has yet to suit up this year. His future in Cincinnati is unclear entering this offseason.