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NFL standings, Week 18: Breaking down the AFC North heading toward the Playoffs

The AFC North is working its way through Week 18. We break down the standings and playoff implications as we move toward the Playoffs.

Mike Hilton #21 and Jackson Carman #79 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrate after defeating the Baltimore Ravens 27-16 at Paycor Stadium on January 08, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The NFL season is a wrap and the Cincinnati Bengals are the AFC North champions. The Bengals were right there with the Ravens as division favorites, and Cincinnati took care of business. They won the division title for a second straight season, which was the first time they’d done that since 1981 and 1982. The latter was the strike year, so this is their first time ever as repeat division champs in two full seasons.

The Ravens pushed the Bengals most of the season, but when they lost Lamar Jackson to injury, it effectively scuttled their chances of overtaking Cincinnati. Tyler Huntley performed well, but he also got hurt and it was a tough close to the season for Baltimore. In spite of losing three of their last four games, the Ravens are headed to the playoffs as a wild card team.

The Steelers stumbled out of the gate, going 2-6 heading into their bye week. Kenny Pickett and the rest of the team started to get on track after the bye and went 7-2 over the final nine weeks. They came into Week 18 with a shot at a playoff berth and this might have been Mike Tomlin’s best coaching job.

The less said about the Browns this year, the better.

AFC North

  1. Cincinnati Bengals, 12-4 — won division title
  2. Baltimore Ravens, 10-7 — clinched wild card berth
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers, 9-8 — eliminated
  4. Cleveland Browns, 7-10 — eliminated