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AFC North standings: Bengals remain on top of a competitive division

A typical bruising match between the Ravens and Steelers on Sunday night helped to shake out the AFC North after the month of September’s games completed.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Around these parts, we’ve said that the Bengals finishing the month of September with a 3-1 record would be gigantic in their potential playoff chances. Though it was by the skin of their teeth, Cincinnati pulled off this feat with a comeback win against the Falcons in Atlanta.

With the win, the Bengals continue to sit atop of the AFC North, though it’s by a pretty thin margin. Each of the four teams have notched at least one win so far in the first month.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns continue to suffer both bad luck and their stepping on their own toes. They faced the Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon, only to lose 45-42 in the last seconds of the contest.

At one point, the Browns had a 17-7 lead on the road, but that evaporated in a shootout to give Jon Gruden his first win in his second stint with Oakland. There were two controversial calls at the end of the game in which the Browns could/should/would have won the game, but the powers-that-be decided otherwise.

After tying the Steelers in Week 1 and narrowly losing to the Saints, the Browns are a very misleading 1-2-1 right now.

Since the “old” Browns became the Baltimore Ravens, a major rivalry has ensued between the upstart franchise and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since 1996, the Ravens have been to two Super Bowls and won them both, while the Steelers have been to three and won two in the span.

These head-to-head clashes between the squads are often best-described as bloodbaths, and the Week 4 Sunday Night Football matchup was no different. Baltimore got off to a quick 14-0 lead over Pittsburgh at home, but that soon dissipated.

The Steelers rallied back, thanks to a huge fumble near the goal line by Alex Collins. Ben Roethlisberger chipped away at the lead with two first half drives that led to field goals, but then also threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown. A subsequent two-point conversion had the game tied at halftime.

The second half was, for most intents and purposes, pretty ugly. It essentially became the Justin Tucker show, as he hit four field goals in the second half.

Baltimore came out of Heinz Field victorious, beating the Steelers, 26-14. Both teams have a lot of questions to answer, but the Ravens are biting at the Bengals’ heels for first place, as Cincinnati has the tie-breaker over Baltimore because of the Week 2 outcome.

Here’s a look at the AFC North standings after Week 4:

  1. Cincinnati Bengals 3-1: 1-0 in division, 2-0 in conference
  2. Baltimore Ravens: 3-1: 1-1 in division, 3-1 in conference
  3. Cleveland Browns: 1-2-1: 0-0-1 in division, 1-1-1 in conference
  4. Pittsburgh Steelers: 1-2-1: 0-1-1 in division, 1-1-1 in conference