The Cincinnati Bengals entered week five in the NFL schedule on a three game winning streak, and with a lot of confidence. Fans looked at the home game with the Miami Dolphins as a game they should win, followed by another winnable game with the Cleveland Browns, which would put the team at 5-1, and on the path to the playoffs. That plan hit a snag, however, as the Bengals lost to Miami 17-13, dropping the team’s record to 3-2 heading into Cleveland, and leaving fans noticeably nervous about the remainder of the season.
In trying to be positive, one can say it’s just a single game out of 16, and the Bengals can still make the playoffs. This is definitely true, but comes with a caveat: The Bengals are going to have to beat some pretty good teams in order to get there. The 2012 campaign is beginning to shape up eerily similar to last season, when the team jumped out to a 6-2 record, only to go 3-5 down the stretch, making the playoffs at 9-7, and only due to the collapse of the New York Jets. Last year, the Bengals were lucky enough to play a few weak teams in the closing weeks, that enabled them to get enough wins. How does that compare with this season? Let’s examine.