Jamison Hensley at ESPN compares the remaining schedules of AFC North teams, three of whom (the Ravens, Steelers and Bengals) are still in playoff contention. (I suppose the Browns technically are too, but you know what I mean.) It's the Bengals - who still have to play the Texans in addition to facing the Ravens and Steelers once more - who will have the toughest path ahead.â†µ
The Bengals' last five opponents have a combined record of 30-25. Cincinnati plays three teams with winning records in the stretch run.â†µ
The Ravens, by contrast, face an incredibly easy remaining schedule that features two games against the Browns and a likely laugher against the winless Colts. If the Bengals can upset the Ravens in Week 17 (or, obviously, if something strange happens before that), then the Steelers might have a shot at the AFC North crown, but otherwise they're probably looking at a Wild Card berth. Pittsburgh is currently one game ahead of the Bengals and two games ahead of any other Wild Card team, so it would be fairly unlikely that they'd fail to make the playoffs, but even with a current record that's identical to that of the Ravens', it'll be tough for the Steelers to win the division.â†µ
Here's Pete Wilmoth's take on the NFL playoff picture, written before the Steelers' last matchup against the Chiefs.