Potentially, the Cincinnati Bengals could find themselves at a 9-5 record entering the final two games of the regular season. Those two games are the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, and the Baltimore Ravens at home. The Ravens seem to be on their way to easily clinching the AFC North, and the Indianapolis Colts are still churning out wins in a close wild-card race. Therefore, that meeting with the Steelers in week 16 could end up being a win-and-in playoff game of sorts, depending on how things unfold down the stretch.
The main problem with the Cincinnati Bengals’ playoff hopes are that they will lose most tie-breakers. They are clearly behind the Steelers and Colts in AFC wins right now, and this is what will likely decide who plays in January if all three teams find themselves at a 9-7, or even a 10-6 record.
Which means that the Bengals will probably need to beat at least one of the two AFC North elites if they look to continue a playoff path this season. If they beat one, (whichever it is) they will likely be sitting at a 10-6 record. The probability that the Bengals, Steelers, and Colts all get to 10-6 is statistically unlikely, given their schedules. This could bode well for a Cincinnati playoff berth.
It’s not too early to consider the fact that Baltimore will rest its starters during the season final, but it’s not something Bengals fans should rely on. Especially given the race between the Ravens, Patriots, Broncos, and Texans is expected by many to go down to the wire for the coveted playoff bye weeks.
Regardless of this, the Bengals need to make sure they take care of the business they can.
And Cincinnati fans might be in for quite a second-half ride.