The AFC North remains the only division in professional football with all four teams being above the .500 mark. Can this division hold up under the pressure? It’s going to be very interesting to see how it all shakes down for NFL betting purposes in the coming weeks
Who’s In Contention?
Everyone. The Cincinnati Bengals lead the division with an 8-4-1 mark, and that tie is likely to create a clean winner of the division, without any ties, although it’s quite possible Baltimore and Pittsburgh could finish in a tie, most likely at 10-6. The Ravens and Steelers are both 8-5, and Cleveland is in last place with a very respectable 7-6 record; so keep this in mind when looking at the NFL odds.
Can The Browns Win It All?
The Browns are the biggest longshot in the field, but they certainly have a decent chance of making the playoffs. Cleveland gets Cincinnati at home this weekend, and if the Browns win that game, they’ll be just half a game behind the Bengals and probably a game out of first if either Pittsburgh or Baltimore wins in week 15. Cleveland closes with a game at Baltimore, so while it will be on the road, Cleveland might still have a chance to win its way into the playoffs, maybe even as a division champion. The Browns could get to 9-6, but that week 17 finale in Baltimore seems very hard to win. Can Cleveland make the playoffs if it does anything short of winning out? It’s doubtful. Stay away for NFL betting purposes.
Can The Steelers Win It All?
The Steelers have a quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, who has won two Super Bowls, but they also have a tough finishing stretch: at Atlanta, home against Kansas City, and home against Cincinnati. The Steelers have to win at least two of those games to feel they have a good shot at the playoffs, especially the finale against Cincinnati. What the Steelers want to be able to do is win out, in which case they would win the division (they own a tiebreaker against Baltimore and have already played the Ravens twice). They could host a wild card game and then get a one-game shot, possibly against the Denver Broncos, in the divisional playoffs. If they can get hot, they would have their chance. However, the thing about the Steelers this year is that they’ve been so erratic. Consistency without interruption is not something the Steelers have done well this season.
Can The Ravens Win It All?
The Ravens look like the favorite to win the division because they have the easiest closing schedule. A stretch of Jacksonville, at Houston, and home against Cleveland should lift the Ravens to an 11-5 record, and that would give Baltimore the division unless Pittsburgh also closes with three wins. Baltimore is ultimately the AFC North’s best bet to win the Super Bowl. Each time the Ravens won the Super Bowl, they got in as a wild card team and then caught fire.
Can The Bengals Win It All?
With their track record of failure in December and early January, the Bengals inspire very little confidence. They have to beat Cleveland on the road this Sunday to quiet some doubts and regain control. If they lose, they get Denver in week 16, and that would probably be a loss. The Bengals then visit Pittsburgh in the finale. They could finish 8-7-1, which would be a terrible result after looking like a possible candidate for a first-round bye. Ultimately, you don’t want any team from this division as your NFL pick to win the Super Bowl; but Baltimore is the best choice though.