Sixteen weeks of the 2021 NFL season have not been enough to decide the AFC North, and not only that, all four teams in the division can still come home with the divisional crown with two weeks left to play.
How can each of the teams still hang a banner this season?
Cincinnati Bengals 9-6
Games remaining: vs Chiefs, at Browns
This is easy. The Bengals just need to win one of their final two games to clinch the division.
Baltimore Ravens 8-7
Games remaining: vs Rams, vs Steelers
Because the Ravens lose the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Bengals, and have the worst divisional record in a potential three-way tie with Cincinnati and Cleveland at 9-8, Baltimore needs to win out and have the Bengals lose out.
Pittsburgh Steelers 7-7-1
Games remaining: vs Browns, at Ravens
The Steelers need to win out and have Cincinnati lose out. Even a Bengals tie eliminates Pittsburgh from contention. The Steelers would eliminate both Cleveland and Baltimore with head-to-head victories, so the only help they needs is from Cincinnati’s opponents.
Cleveland Browns 7-8
Games remaining: at Steelers, vs Bengals
The last-place Browns still have a fairly cogent path. Just like the teams above them, they need to win out and have Cincinnati lose out. The Browns also need the Ravens to lose one game. Cleveland owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with Cincinnati, so if both teams finish 9-8, the division goes to the Browns. In a three-way tie at 9-8 with Cincinnati and Baltimore, the Ravens would have the worst divisional record and be eliminated first, with Cleveland’s head-to-head advantage then taking precedent.