This week, there are only two games in the AFC North. Obviously, the Ravens-Bengals game is most important to us, as if the Purple Birds can nab a win, they pass the Ben-Gals in the division standings.
The other game, on Monday night in Denver, will become very important down the line for the Ravens’ divisional and playoff hopes. If Denver wins, they will move to 7-1, and the Steelers will fall to 5-3 on the season, which would be the same record as both the Ravens and Bengals if there is a favorable result on Sunday in Cincinatti.
If this happened, since the Ravens would not have taken on Pittsbugh yet, the head-to-head tiebreaker would not be applied, and thus, the best record within the division would determine the leader. This would make the Bengals first in the division at 3-1, the Ravens and Steelers tied for second at 1-1.
Where the situation gets complex is with the Broncos and how that would impact playoff implications. The next tiebreaker after division record is record in common games. It is very possible that multiple teams could be tied for the AFC North division title. It is also possible, but less likely, that they may have split the head-to-head matchup and have an equal inter-division record. Since the AFC North is facing off against the AFC West and NFC North this season, those games will determine the next tiebreakers. Right now, the Bengals have gone 1-2 against teams from those divisions. The Ravens have gone 3-1 against teams from the two divisions and the Steelers slot in at 3-1 in the same category (but they got to play the Lions).
So far, none of the teams the three have played are common between all of them. Once this Monday night matchup happens, the foggy AFC North playoff picture will clear up a bit.