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AFC North race just keeps getting more interesting

Bengals trail Baltimore by one game in tight race

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The bad news is that the Cincinnati Bengals have the fourth toughest remaining schedule in the NFL.

The good news is that the only teams with tougher remaining schedules than the Bengals are the Ravens, Steelers and Browns.

And that schedule is already beginning to take its toll. Pittsburgh dropped a 41-37 decision at the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday while Baltimore and Cleveland hung on for three-point victories.

Cincinnati’s 32-13 win over the Raiders leaves the Bengals in second place in the AFC North at 6-4, one game behind Baltimore, one-half game ahead of the Steelers (5-4-1) and one game ahead of the Browns.

Steeler rally falls short

Pittsburgh found itself trailing by a score of 27-10 after three quarters before staging a furious fourth-quarter rally that saw the Steelers grab a 37-34 lead with only 3:24 left. But the Chargers responded with a 53-yard touchdown pass from Justin Herbert to Mike Williams with just over two minutes remaining, and Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sacked twice to end any further comeback hopes.

Roethlisberger finished 28 of 44 for 273 yards and three touchdowns, but Herbert was even better as he completed 30 of 41 passes for 374 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

Browns escape with a win

It wasn’t pretty, but Cleveland did what it had to to come away with a 13-10 victory over the visiting Detroit Lions.

Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield had his worst game of the season as he completed just 15 of 29 passes for 165 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. But Detroit’s Tim Boyle, who was filling in for the injured Jared Goff, was even worse. Boyle completed 15 of 23 passes, but for only 77 yards and two interceptions.

Running back Nick Chubb saved the day for Cleveland as he ran over, around and through Lions’ defenders and finished with 130 yards on 22 carries.

Ravens escaped with a win

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson was too sick to play, and Tyler Huntley made the most of his first career start as he engineered a come-from-behind, 16-13 win over the Chicago Bears.

Chicago took a 13-9 lead on a 49-yard pass from Andy Dalton to Marquise Goodwin with just 1:41 left before Huntley led the Ravens on a 75-yard scoring driving that was capped off by a 3-yard run by Devonta Freeman with 22 seconds remaining.

Huntley finished with 26 completions in 36 attempts for 219 yards and an interception. Dalton, who came on in relief of the injured Justin Fields, went 11 for 23 for 201 yards and two touchdowns.

What’s next?

Cincinnati will try to do something Sunday that it hasn’t done since 2009 - beat the Pittsburgh Steelers twice in one season. The Bengals host Pittsburgh as both teams battle to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Sunday night game features Cleveland at Baltimore. Wins by Cincinnati and the Browns would really make for an interesting final six weeks of the season.