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AFC North Preview, Week 16: A freezing cold slate

Bring a jacket

Cincinnati Bengals v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Following Week 15, a new team sits atop the AFC North with only three games left to play in the regular season.

Cincinnati Bengals (10-4)

For the first time this season, the Cincinnati Bengals have taken the lead in the division following their comeback victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 15. The Bengals will now face the New England Patriots as 3-point favorites on the road, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

Cincinnati jumped to the No. 3 seed in the AFC after taking control of the AFC North with their sixth-straight win. The Bengals are peaking at the perfect time as the playoffs lurk just around the corner.

After missing just one game with a broken wrist, Pro Bowl defensive end Trey Hendrickson is set to return to action this Saturday for Cincinnati. Tight end Hayden Hurst (calf) was listed as questionable after being limited in practice all week. Defensive end Sam Hubbard (calf) was ruled out for Week 15.

Baltimore Ravens (9-5)

The Baltimore Ravens lost control of the division with their first divisional loss of the season against the Cleveland Browns in Week 15. The Ravens will now host the Atlanta Falcons as 6.5-point favorites on Saturday, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

Baltimore will be without quarterback Lamar Jackson (knee) yet again this week, meaning Tyler Huntley will receive the start on Christmas Eve. Baltimore’s receiving corps underwent some changes this past week as Devin Duvernay was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury. The Ravens also reunited with Sammy Watkins after claiming the veteran off of waivers.

Defensive end Calais Campbell (knee) and cornerback Marcus Peters (calf) were also ruled out for Saturday’s game. Huntley (shoulder) was listed as questionable but is expected to play.

Cleveland Browns (6-8)

Cleveland kept their playoff hopes alive with their 13-3 victory over Baltimore in Week 15. However, they will need a multitude of things going their way in order to get into the postseason, including winning their final three games. The Browns will host the New Orleans Saints on Christmas Eve as 3-point favorites, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

Cleveland is preparing for one of the coldest games in their history with temperatures expected to feel like -20 degrees, according to Fox8. These conditions favor the Browns’ fifth-ranked rushing attack, so expect a heavy dosage of running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt on Saturday.

Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (concussion) was ruled out while safety John Johnson III (thigh) is listed as questionable. Center Ethan Pocic will play after returning from injured reserve.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8)

The Pittsburgh Steelers are also clinging to a slim chance of sneaking into the playoffs. Like the Browns, the Steelers need to win their remaining three games while also needing a bevy of other games to fall in their favor in order to make it. A more obtainable goal for Pittsburgh will be to avoid having the first losing season under longtime Head Coach Mike Tomlin. The Steelers will host the Las Vegas Raiders on Christmas Day as 2.5-point favorites, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

Quarterback Kenny Pickett is expected to return this week after suffering a concussion in Week 13 against the Ravens — his second of the season. The rookie is preparing to start in what is expected to be one of the coldest games in franchise history, with temperatures set to be in the single digits, according to CBS Pittsburgh.

Wide receiver Diontae Johnson (toe), safety Terrell Edmunds (hamstring), and linebacker Myles Jack (groin) were all listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Raiders.