How the Cincinnati Bengals can earn top AFC playoff seed

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Nov 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert (85) carries the ball after making a catch in the first half against the St. Louis Rams at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos won in Week 12, while the New England Patriots lost their first game of the season. With help, the Bengals could earn the AFC’s top playoff seed. Here’s how it could happen.

The Cincinnati Bengals are in a strange predicament. In a top-heavy AFC North, it is difficult to figure out which team to root for. The Bengals were likely rooting for New England on Monday night, but Denver came out on top. The Patriots’ fall, however, has opened the door to the possibility of Cincinnati earning home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Denver Broncos handed the New England Patriots their first loss of the season on Monday Night Football. Brock Osweiler played like an above-average quarterback, Denver’s defense played a good game, sacking Tom Brady three times and forcing a fumble and C.J. Anderson tore the Patriots’ defense apart with over 150 scrimmage yards. Emmanuel Sanders was a huge impact player in the passing game, and Denver’s secondary totaled six pass defenses.

The Broncos played a good game of football, and while the Patriots performed very well, they couldn’t get the job done. Fresh off a dominant victory over the Rams, Cincinnati is looking to gain momentum heading towards a Week 16 showdown in Denver that could have huge playoff implications.

And at 9-2, the Bengals are currently in second place in the AFC and could threaten New England if the Patriots drop another game.

If the Bengals win out and the Patriots lose another game (as long as the loss comes to an AFC opponent), Cincinnati would earn the AFC’s top seed.

But that scenario seems a little bit too hopeful. With that, let’s take a look at three scenarios in which Cincinnati could end up with the AFC’s top seed.

Next: Scenario 1

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