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AFC North standings: Steelers stay home but still climb to top of division

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All three AFC North teams that suited up Sunday were defeated, paving the way for a new division leader coming out of Week 7.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the Cincinnati Bengals did what they’ve often done in primetime. Facing an explosive Kansas City Chiefs team on Sunday night, Marvin Lewis’ team was utterly embarrassed by Patrick Mahomes and Co.

On defense, Cincinnati struggled to cover Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and/or Sammy Watkins. The Bengals also seemed to want no part of tackling Kareem Hunt, as they let up a whopping 45 points at Arrowhead Stadium.

Things weren’t much better on offense either, as Andy Dalton had his lowest passing output of the season, including a pick-six in the third quarter. Throw in a botched (fake?) punt early in the contest, and the team hit the trifecta of poor plays within the three respective units.

Cincinnati is currently on a two-game slide and face the Buccaneers next week before their bye. After their break, the Bengals host the Saints, head to Baltimore and then face the Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Let’s look at the how the rest of the division stacks up.

Cleveland Browns:

Speaking of the Browns, they keep finding creative and heartbreaking ways to lose football games. In Tampa Bay this Sunday, they got the contest into overtime, only to lose by a 59-yard field goal.

Aside from the tie against Pittsburgh, two of Cleveland’s four losses have come in overtime. They also had another loss against New Orleans that was a three-point decision. They face the Steelers, Chiefs, Falcons and Bengals over the next four contests.

Baltimore Ravens:

Like the Browns and the Bengals this year, Baltimore can’t really seem to get out of their own way, either. In the later afternoon slate of games on Sunday, the Ravens and Saints matchup was one of the best on the docket.

It was a back-and-forth affair, with Drew Brees throwing his 500th and 501st career touchdowns. Joe Flacco actually out-dueled Brees, passing for 279 yards and two touchdowns.

The second touchdown was to John Brown with 24 seconds left on the clock to put the score at 23-24. Justin Tucker, the best kicker in the league, missed the ensuing extra point to tie the game and potentially send it to overtime. It was the first time he had ever missed a PAT in the NFL.

Pittsburgh Steelers:

The Steelers didn’t play in Week 7, as they had their bye, but moved to the top of the divisional standings by virtue of winning percentage. It’s an ironic twist of fate, as they tied with the Browns, lost to Baltimore and barely beat the Bengals in a last-second thriller in Week 6.

Here’s a look at the updated division standings:

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