It’s their second win after rolling through the Raiders last week, and without jinxing anything too much, Cincinnati seems to be on track for their first postseason berth since 2015.
Joe Mixon angry-ran his way to a Bengals victory yet again, scoring two touchdowns against a Steelers team that was dead in the water by the third quarter.
Coach Zac Taylor has been changing the culture of the Bengals franchise ever since he took over, and now, Cincinnati has tangible results in the form of extremely gratifying wins.
The Bengals have swept the Steelers for the first time since 2009, and they may get many other “firsts” by the end of the regular season.
Here’s what the AFC playoff picture looks like after Week 12:
- Baltimore Ravens (8-3)
- New England Patriots (8-4)
- Tennessee Titans (8-4)
- Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
- Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)
- Buffalo Bills (7-4)
- Los Angeles Chargers (6-5)
IN THE HUNT: 8. Denver Broncos (6-5), 9. Las Vegas Raiders (6-5), 10. Indianapolis Colts (6-6), 11. Cleveland Browns (6-6), 12. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1)
Cincinnati Bengals stay in 5th playoff seed after comfortable thrashing of Steelers in Week 12
As it stands, the Bengals would face the Chiefs in the Wild Card round while their division rivals, the Ravens, would take the 1st seed and the automatic BYE.
Much to Cincinnati’s dismay, Baltimore squeezed by to a victory over the Cleveland Browns in Week 12, which means the Ravens still top the AFC North (had Baltimore lost, Cincinnati owns the head-to-head tiebreaker and would have overtaken them).
But whereas the Ravens displayed yet another messy performance that consisted of four turnovers from their star quarterback, the Bengals are seemingly only getting stronger.
Joe Burrow notched one pick against Pittsburgh, but he played a much more mature game by taking the easy completions and letting Joe Mixon do his thing.
Wideout threats Chase, Higgins, and Boyd remain as dangerous as ever, with any receiver ready to go off should the need arise. In Week 12, Higgins stepped up. But Boyd has been getting more looks, too, and Chase is absolutely ravenous for that Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Up next, the Bengals welcome the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13, another matchup that has heavy playoff implications:
According to ESPN, the Bengals had a 30 percent chance to make the playoffs two weeks ago. After wins against the Raiders and Steelers, that number is up to 62.1 percent.
Let’s hope the Bengals can continue their elite form against Justin Herbert and the Chargers. No win will come easy now.