The Cincinnati Bengals lost their second game of the 2015 season Sunday night to the Arizona Cardinals and while that loss certainly was welcoming news for the Pittsburgh Steelers during their bye week, winning the AFC North still seems like a minor pipe dream at this point.
For starters, the Steelers will more than likely need to win out in order to have a chance at overtaking the Bengals in the AFC North. Even then, the Bengals would likely have to lose three of their remaining games as they are really healthy when it comes to the other tiebreaking procedures.
Should the Steelers win out and finish the season tied with the Bengals at 12-4, the first two sets of tiebreakers would be a wash as long as one of Cincinnati’s remaining wins comes against either the Cleveland Browns or Baltimore Ravens as not only would the teams have had split their two head-to-head games, their divisional records would each be 4-2.
The next set of tiebreakers revolves around common games and if gets to that point in the above scenario, both teams will possess identical records in that category. After the common opponent’s tiebreaker is used, next up is the conference record tiebreaker and based on the above scenario, the Bengals would win that as they would have finished the season with just 3 AFC losses as opposed to the Steelers 4 conference losses.
Long story short, the Steelers best shot at winning the AFC North this season includes the Bengals losing three of their remaining six games in addition to them winning out.
In addition to the Bengals remaining games against Steelers, Ravens, and Browns, they also have games remaining against the St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos.