AFC Playoff Picture Following the Bengals Loss


Oct 31, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) on the sideline in the first quarter of a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

I know it’s still mid-season.

But with Thursday Night’s win loss the Miami Dolphins putting Cincinnati at 6-3, I think Bengals fans would like to be reminded of the playoffs scenarios out there right now.

At first glance, the Bengals are heavy favorites to win the AFC North division.

But let’s look around the conference a bit.

Look at the top two teams in the AFC, record-wise: The Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Bronos. Both have excelled this year and will look to clinch playoff spots by Week 14 or 15. However, because they are in the same division, only one of those teams can get a first round bye come January. The other, however talented, will likely be stuck with the first Wildcard spot.

That means there’s probably going to be another bye week up for grabs by the time the end of the season is upon us. And, right now, the Cincinnati Bengals are in the mix for that spot.

A lot is left to be determined, and we haven’t seen the results of Sunday’s games but and as long as the Bengals maintain an even pace with the Patriots, they’ll get the coveted No. 2 seed before New England does. This is for two reasons. First, the Bengals won the head-to-head matchup in Week 5 by a score of 13-6. Second, both of the Patriots losses come from AFC opponents, while one of the Bengals’ losses was to the Bears, an NFC team. Conference losses hurt more in playoff scenarios.

Keep in mind that the Bengals already lost this week, and the Patriots still have to play Pittsburgh.

If you look around the AFC, there aren’t many other teams that could realistically match up with the Bengals, except for perhaps the Colts, whom Cincinnati faces in Week 14. Even with the Bengals technically having a better record at this point (before the Colts vs. Texans game Sunday night), that game could have first round bye implications. The game will be played in Cincinnati.

And if they can get past the Colts and Patriots, the Bengals may not need to win that pesky first playoff game to advance to the AFC Divisonal round.