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How the Bengals can clinch the AFC North in Week 17

A second-straight division crown could come this week if enough things go Cincinnati’s way.

Week 17 is shaping up to be a big one for the Cincinnati Bengals. With a Monday Night tilt against the Buffalo Bills, major playoff seeding implications are on the line, as the third-seeded Bengals have a chance at both the second and first seed in the AFC, if everything falls their way.

Final seeding won’t be decided until the regular season ends, but the Bengals could have a chance to secure their second-straight AFC North championship when the game against Buffalo kicks off.

If the Baltimore Ravens lose or tie vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, a win over the Bills would clinch the division title for Cincinnati.

And since the Bengals are no strangers to ties, they can actually win the division with a tie vs. the Bills and a Ravens loss.

While the playing status for Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson is still up in the air, the Ravens looked beatable with him, before the injury. For the second time in recent weeks, Bengals fans will be pulling for Pittsburgh to beat Baltimore.

The season could end very similar to the 2021 season if all things work out in Cincinnati’s favor. We saw the Bengals clinch the division crown in Week 17 last year and then rest their starters in a divisional game the last week of the season.

With injuries hitting different position groups throughout the season, a de facto bye week for starters in the final week of the regular season could go a long way in not only protecting the team from more injuries, but to give the entire team a break to get their bodies ready for the playoffs.

Winning the division also means Cincinnati would host at least one playoff game, and we’ve seen how strong of a home field advantage Paycor Stadium can provide.

The one seed is still in sight, but quarterback Joe Burrow is on record numerous times saying that the first goal for the team starting the season is to win their division. Here’s to hoping that can be locked up this weekend, leading to a stress-free Week 18.