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Steelers Week 16 AFC North Clinching Scenerios

The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered a third consecutive loss Monday night as they were beaten by the Cincinnati Bengals 27-17 on the road. The Steelers losing to the Bengals meant that they still have yet to do anything more than clinch a playoff birth with two games now remaining in the regular season. Had they beaten the Bengals Monday night, they would have won the AFC North division. They can still accomplish that goal in Week 16, however.

According to the updated playoff scenarios released by the NFL on Tuesday, the Steelers can win the AFC North in Week 16 in one of three ways. For starters, the Steelers can win the AFC North on Sunday by simply beating the Indianapolis Colts at home. They can also win their division should the Cleveland Browns lose on the road on Sunday to the New York Jets. The last remaining AFC North clinching scenario for the Steelers in Week 16 requires the Steelers and Browns to both tie on Sunday, which is very unlikely to happen.

In other Week 16 AFC clinching scenarios, the Kansas City Chiefs can secure the top playoff seed in the conference one of four ways with the obvious one being them beating or tying the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Wins by the Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Steelers in Week 16 would lock the latter into either the second or third AFC seed. Such a scenario would set the Steelers up to decide if they want to risk playing everyone against the Browns in Week 17 to improve by one spot. Jumping to the No. 2 spot in the AFC would require the Bills losing or tying in Week 17 and the Steelers beating the Browns.

A Sunday loss to the Colts by the Steelers would set up a Week 17 game against the Browns for the AFC North title, assuming that Cleveland were to beat the Jets on Sunday.

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