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Browns, Steelers officially eliminated from AFC North hunt in Week 15

Bengals take control of the division with three weeks left

Syndication: Akron Beacon Journal Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK

While Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt might be stiff-arming a Pittsburgh Steelers defender to the ground in the above picture, the AFC North has been denied for both teams after Week 15 of the 2022 NFL season.

While many will sarcastically say that both teams have been eliminated for weeks, it officially occurred when the Cincinnati Bengals ran their record to 10-4 with a come-from-behind victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Baltimore Ravens, after losing Saturday, are one game back in the division.

Sitting at 6-8, neither the Browns nor Steelers can match the Bengals 10 wins. That doesn’t mean both teams have been eliminated from playoff contention but that seems inevitable at this point.

Only one of the two teams has a chance for a winning record this season which could come down to the Week 18 matchup between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Each team has a chance to go 9-8 with some interesting games left on their schedule before the final week matchup.

For Steelers HC Mike Tomlin, Week 18 could put his streak of never having a losing record as a head coach on the line.

With just two games left on the schedule in Week 15, Sunday Night and Monday Night Football, looking at the other divisions in the NFL shows some interesting things:

  • AFC North has the third most wins among the eight divisions
  • Cleveland and Pittsburgh would be tied for the lead in the NFC South
  • The Browns and Steelers would be one game out in the AFC South
  • The NFC East (recently thought to be the NFC Least) is certain to have all four teams going into Week 16 with winning records
  • The wild card picture in both conferences is very muddled with just four teams eliminated from playoff contention as of 7:45 PM Sunday

While the division is out of reach and the playoffs are unlikely, both Cleveland and Pittsburgh have a winning record to play for and momentum going into this offseason. Could make for an interesting Week 18 of the NFL season.