How the Cincinnati Bengals can earn top AFC playoff seed

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Nov 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis looks on from the sidelines in the first half against the St. Louis Rams at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 31-7. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Scenario 2: Bengals Tie Broncos

  1. The Cincinnati Bengals tie the Denver Broncos in Week 16
    • While this is unlikely, we’re just playing devil’s advocate here
  2. The Cincinnati Bengals win the rest of their remaining games
    • They would need to beat the Browns, Steelers, 49ers and Ravens
  3. The New England Patriots lose a game to an AFC opponent
    • The loss could come to the Texans, Titans, Jets or Dolphins
  4. The New England Patriots lose or tie a second game
    • The loss or tie could come to any of the four aforementioned teams, or to the Eagles

This scenario is pretty self-explanatory. If the Bengals end up tying the Denver Broncos, they will still have the tiebreaker. Cincinnati could only lose the tiebreaker with the Denver Broncos by either losing to the Broncos or losing two of its three remaining division matchups (at Browns, vs. Steelers, vs. Ravens)

The Bengals lucked out when the Broncos lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, as Denver’s one division loss–along with a conference loss against the Indianapolis Colts–have put the Broncos behind Cincinnati in the playoff race.

The Bengals only have one conference loss (Texans) and have a non-conference loss (Cardinals). Cincinnati would own the tiebreaker over New England if it could win one more game than New England, provided that the Patriots’ loss comes to a conference opponent–even if the Bengals tied the Broncos.

Next: Scenario 3