Patriots poised to nab No. 1 seed? Steelers finished? NFC playoff teams set?

You bet your sweet bippy this is true. This is the most balanced team in the highly competitive division. It all starts with Joe Mixon, a certified stud who ranks third in the NFL with 924 rushing yards. Squarely in his prime at age 25, Mixon followed up the 123-yard, two-touchdown destruction of the Raiders by gashing the Steelers for 165 yards and two more scores. Mixon has now scored a touchdown in eight straight games. This offense -- this team -- goes through Mixon. He helps second-year QB Joe Burrow. He helps the playmaking defense. The Bengals control the clock and bust your will. All of the elements are there for Cincy to make the playoffs and win a game or two. I really dig this team.

Cincinnati swept Pittsburgh by a combined score of 65-20. Like I said just above, the Steelers are toast. Meanwhile, Sunday night's bout between the AFC North's other two teams was an eye sore, with the Ravens grinding out a 16-10 win over the Browns. John Harbaugh and the Ravens are always strong, but it feels like something's amiss for this fine franchise. Or maybe it's just all the injuries piling up. Lamar Jackson is still one of the game's most electrifying players, but sometimes it seems like he's tasked with carrying too much of a load for this team. Maybe that's what happened Sunday night, when he threw a career-high four interceptions. The Ravens' culture and toughness is special, but they just aren't firing on all cylinders right now. They might not have enough dudes who can play. And while Lamar typically lifts Baltimore up, Baker Mayfield continues to hold Cleveland back, with the Browns eclipsing 17 points in just one of their past seven games.

Cincy's ranked sixth in scoring offense and scoring defense. Zac Taylor's team is well-rounded -- and dangerous.

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