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How the Cincinnati Bengals can earn top AFC playoff seed

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Nov 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the St. Louis Rams in the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati defeated St. Louis 31-7. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Scenario 1: Bengals Lose 1 Remaining Game

  1. The Cincinnati Bengals win four of their remaining five games
    • The Bengals must win their Week 16 matchup against the Denver Broncos
    • The loss can be to any other team on Cincinnati’s schedule–even against a team in the AFC North
  2. The New England Patriots win three or less of their remaining five games
    • New England must lose one game and either lose or tie another game
      • However, the two teams both need to be AFC opponents
      • Losing to the Philadelphia Eagles would not count as one of those two needed losses
      • However, tying the Eagles and losing to another team would work in this scenario

Scenario 1 gives Cincinnati the leeway to lose up to one of its remaining five games. If the Bengals go 4-1 throughout the rest of the season (assuming that this loss doesn’t come against the Denver Broncos), they could have a chance at earning the AFC’s top overall seed.

The Cincinnati Bengals would be able to lose or tie one of these four games in this scenario:

  • Week 13 at Cleveland Browns
  • Week 14 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Week 15 at San Francisco 49ers
  • Week 17 vs. Baltimore Ravens

The New England Patriots would need to lose two of these games in order for the scenario to work:

  • Week 14 at Houston Texans
  • Week 15 vs. Tennessee Titans
  • Week 16 at New York Jets
  • Week 17 at Miami Dolphins

If the Bengals end up tying (instead of losing) one of the four listed games, they would need a Patriots loss to one of these four teams and either another loss or a tie against any opponent, including the Philadelphia Eagles in order to lock up the top seed.

As long as the Broncos lose to the Bengals in this scenario, Cincinnati will own the tiebreaker over Denver.

Next: Scenario 2

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