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What Steelers win over Bengals in Week 16 means for NFL playoff picture in AFC

The Steelers beat the Bengals in Week 16 of the NFL season. We break down what it means for the AFC playoff picture.

George Pickens #14 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after scoring a touchdown with his teammates Mason Rudolph #2 and Allen Robinson II #11 during the third quarter of a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Acrisure Stadium on December 23, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers ended their three-game losing streak with a 34-11 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. It was the best game of the season for the Steelers, while the Bengals’ momentum came to a screeching halt with an important two weeks remaining. Let’s look at how this game result affects the AFC playoff picture.

The Steelers’ victory improved them to 8-7, and they moved into third place in the AFC North due to the tiebreaker over the Bengals. Pittsburgh moves up to the No. 9 seed in the AFC playoff picture ahead of the remaining games left to be played on Sunday and Monday. They could move up to No. 8 if the Buffalo Bills were to lose to the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday night.

The Bengals’ loss plummets them in the AFC playoff picture. They have an 8-7 record but go from the No. 6 seed down to the No. 10 and out of the playoffs if they were to start today. Cincinnati is also now in last place in the AFC North due to the head-to-head tiebreaker favoring Pittsburgh. They are also behind the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Bills and Steelers in the hunt for a Wild Card spot.