Bengals clinch AFC North division title

Bengals clinch AFC North division title

The Cincinnati Bengals clinched their first AFC North division title by beating the Kansas City Chiefs at home to really shake up the AFC playoff picture heading into the Week 17 primetime games.

By beating the Kansas City Chiefs at home, the Cincinnati Bengals have taken the AFC playoff picture, turned it upside-down and spun it on its head.

Cincinnati has won its first division title since 2015. Joe Burrow is clearly the answer under center for the Bengals. As for the Chiefs, they are now on the outside looking in at the No. 1 seed in the AFC. They will have lost the head-to-head tiebreaker to all the presumptive AFC division winners. Five teams have clinched playoff berths in the AFC, with five more teams fighting for two spots.

Here is the updated AFC playoff picture heading into the primetime games in Week 17.

AFC playoff picture, Week 17

  1. z-Tennessee Titans (11-5)
  2. z-Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)
  3. z-Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
  4. x-Buffalo Bills (10-6)
  5. x-New England Patriots (10-6)
  6. Indianapolis Colts (9-7)
  7. Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)
  8. Las Vegas Raiders (9-7)
  9. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7-1)*
  10. Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
  11. e-Miami Dolphins (8-8)
  12. e-Cleveland Browns (7-8)*
  13. e-Denver Broncos (7-9)
  14. e-New York Jets (4-12)
  15. e-Houston Texans (4-12)
  16. e-Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)

z=Clinched division title
x=Clinched playoff berth
e=Eliminated from playoff contention
*=Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7-1) host the Cleveland Browns (7-8) on Monday Night Football

The AFC South champion Tennessee Titans (11-5) will be the No. 1 seed if they beat the Houston Texans on the road in Week 18, as they have the head-to-head tiebreaker over AFC West champion and current No. 2 seed Kansas City (11-5). AFC North winner Cincinnati (10-6) has the conference record tie-breaker over the playoff-bound AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills (10-6).

Buffalo has the divisional tiebreaker over the New England Patriots (10-6), who are the fifth playoff-bound AFC team. The Indianapolis Colts (9-7) and the Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) would be the No. 6 and No. 7 seeds if the season ended today. Indianapolis has the better conference record over Los Angeles, who owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over the rival Las Vegas Raiders (9-7).

Las Vegas is in eighth place, but gets into the AFC playoffs with a home win over the Bolts next Sunday. Still technically alive for the postseason are the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7-1) and the Baltimore Ravens (8-8). These two teams really need the Colts to lose to the utterly toothless Jacksonville Jaguars to reach the playoffs. Indianapolis is in a fantastic position to get in this year.

Eliminated from playoff contention are the Miami Dolphins (8-8), the Cleveland Browns (7-8), the Denver Broncos (7-9), the New York Jets (4-12), Houston (4-12) and Jacksonville (4-12).

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