AFC North 2012: How the Cincinnati Bengals Can Clinch Division

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Dec 13, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) passes the ball during the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Bengals defeated the Eagles 34-13. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

 

The Cincinnati Bengals have been fighting for their playoff lives since their win against the New York Giants that sparked a four-game winning streak in Week 10.

At the time of the Bengals’ reemergence into the playoff picture, the Baltimore Ravens were establishing themselves as one of the premier teams in the NFL, repeatedly putting up big numbers on the scoreboard, and adding to their win column.

However, the tides have turned as the season reaches the final two weeks. The Bengals are still winning games, having posted a 5-1 record since their loss against Denver. However, the Ravens have hit a proverbial wall, also known as the famous end-of-the-season slump.

After barely coming back against the San Diego Chargers, Baltimore has now lost three straight games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins, and now the Denver Broncos this week.

The last of which was a 34-17 embarrassment at home.

The Bengals have had their eyes on the second wild card playoff spot for some weeks. However, Baltimore’s recent slump has Cincinnati’s mouth watering just a bit, as they could be tasting the possibility of an AFC North crown now essentially up for grabs.

Or at least the most it has been since the start of the season.

The game next week between the Bengals and Steelers at Heinz Field will ultimately determine the winner of the No. 6 spot in the AFC wild card picture. That much is true, depending on tiebreakers that come into account at the end of the season.

Now the wild card may be being pushed aside for favor of the division.

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Tags: Baltimore Ravens Cincinnati Bengals NFL NFL Playoffs