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NFL playoff picture: How Lamar Jackson’s injury, Ravens and Browns loss affect AFC North race



Raven has been doing quite well going into Week 12, battling well with numerous injuries to rise to the top seed in the AFC knockouts. But after consecutive close losses to Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Baltimore (8-5) lost full control of the AFC North after Week 14.

Lamar Jackson, who was hugely popular early in the season that led to big comebacks in the fourth quarter, fell through before suffering an ankle injury against the Browns. While substitute Tyler Huntley almost delivered a successful rally just like Jackson, the bottom line is that Raven may need to play more games without their one-time MVP quarterback.

Team Raven has been trailed behind the Patriots, Titans and Chiefs – all 9-4 after Week 14 – for the 4th seed. With the NFC 49ers winning the Bengals (7-6), Raven will at least remain in the field. first place in the tournament.

But that lead is the slimmest with the Browns (7-6) and the Bengals in second, just one game behind Raven. The Steelers (6-6-1) are only a game and a half away even though they lost in Week 14 to NFC’s Viking.

Here’s a look at how the injury-related loss of Jackson and Raven opened up playoff slots for the entire AFC North:

THAN: Updated the complete picture of the NFL playoffs for Week 14

NFL playoff images: AFC North

Baltimore Raven (8-5)

The remaining strength of the schedule: 622

The remaining division games: Week 16 in Bengals, Week 18 vs Steelers

Remaining undivided games: Week 15 vs Packer, Week 17 vs Rams

Raven has two brutal home games left against elite NFC opponents. They must also try to avenge the loss of Cincinnati and the loss of their way to Pittsburgh. They only lost 1-3 in the split, only beating the Browns in Week 12.

Defeating the Packers and Rams will be tough even for Jackson. So will scan their last two matches in the North based on previous results of both matches. 2-2 looks like the best ending situation for Baltimore, or a 10-7 overall record.

Cleveland Browns (7-6)

The remaining strength of the schedule: .570

The remaining division games: Week 17 at Steelers, Week 18 vs Bengals

Remaining undivided games: Week 15 vs Raiders, Week 16 at Packers

The Browns peaked late just as they did when ending a drought in the knockout stages last season. They also beat the Championship Steelers in the category for a trip to the 2020 AFC Championship knockout stages. The Ravens’ post-goodbye victory didn’t just save Cleveland’s next season; it puts the team in a great position to be crowned champions of tournaments.

The Browns are split 2-2 and have a good chance of finishing 4-2 against the Steelers on a manageable track and the Bengals have been at home for the last two weeks. The Browns researchers should also take care of the fading Raiders at home next week. Winning at Lambeau Field in Week 16 with a Green Bay with an NFC seed on the wire would be a tall order. However, the Browns should feel satisfied about their chances of finishing 3-1 and 10-7.

Cincinnati Bengals (7-6)

The remaining strength of the schedule:.571

The remaining division games: Week 16 vs Ravens, Week 18 at Browns

Remaining undivided games: Week 15 in Broncos, Week 17 vs Chiefs

The Bengal team said goodbye to Week 11 with two big wins over the Raiders and Steelers before losing to the Chargers at home and heading for a similar result against the 49ers. The Week 15 game in Denver is important for wild card chances, but getting revenge on Cleveland in the other game will be more difficult after being beaten the first time around.

The Bengals should feel confident in their rematch with Raven after dominating the first game. However, they will need to eat the game, compared to Kansas City, which will play for something. There was a range of results from 3-1 to 0-4 in the last month, as they were a real “wild card” of a talented young team. Let’s combine it and say the Bengals are leading 9-8.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6-1)

The remaining strength of the schedule: .635

The remaining division games: Week 17 vs. Browns, Week 18 at Ravens

Remaining undivided games: Week 15 vs Titans, Week 16 in Chiefs

The Steelers will kick themselves as a slow start in Minnesota and poor defense cost them a crucial week. They have the most rudimentary group remaining with the top Titans of the AFC South and the best captains of the AFC West supporting each other before the end of the qualifying match. The Browns are simply better overall than the current Steel Man, and the Demon Army will also be a tough sweep down the road.

It won’t be good if the Steelers repeat in their squad, either heading for 8-8-1 or 7-9-1.

Who will win the AFC North and who else will make it to the knockout round?

Based on the final month’s predictions and each team’s current state, the Browns should be considered the lightest candidate to overtake Raven as the conference record winner. The Bengals also have a fighting chance to reach the round two years in a row with three Northern teams in the AFC knockout stages, replacing the Steelers from their former positions.

In that case, the Browns would be limited to 4th place, with Raven and Bengal at best being Numbers 6 and 7 in some order. Between those teams, Chargers and Invoices, a dangerous team will be eliminated.





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