Bengals Playoff Picture: Cincinnati is now in the hunt

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals missed a glorious opportunity to go top of the AFC North in Week 14, and now the team is in the hunt for a playoff berth.

On Sunday, the Bengals fell to the San Francisco 49ers in an overtime thriller — coach Zac Taylor’s questionable play-calling and the team’s general inconsistencies saw them choke and hand the victory to the better-prepared team.

In spare good news, Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase re-found their early-season chemistry with Chase catching two touchdowns to tie it up in the fourth quarter.

But the Bengals couldn’t continue their momentum in overtime, and the 49ers ended the game with a walk-off touchdown.

Now, the Bengals join the other AFC North teams in the playoff hunt.

Here’s what the AFC playoff picture looks like after Week 14:

  1. New England Patriots (9-4)
  2. Tennessee Titans (9-4)
  3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-4)
  4. Baltimore Ravens (8-5)
  5. Los Angeles Chargers (8-5)
  6. Indianapolis Colts (7-6)
  7. Buffalo Bills (7-6)

IN THE HUNT: 8. Cleveland Browns (7-6), 9. Cincinnati Bengals (7-6), 10. Denver Broncos (7-6), 11. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6-1), 12. Las Vegas Raiders (6-7)

Cincinnati Bengals drop out of playoff seeding after Week 14 defeat

The Baltimore Ravens, sans Lamar Jackson for most of the game, fell to the Cleveland Browns in Week 14, shaking up the AFC North even more.

The Patriots, Titans, and Chiefs keep their top seeds while the Colts, who were on a BYE, jump into the postseason based on other teams’ results.

The playoff race is looking closer than ever with all AFC North teams plus the Denver Broncos vying for a seed (the Raiders, who got beaten badly by the Chiefs, also have a chance).

All four of the Bengals’ final games will be against teams currently in the playoffs (Ravens, Chiefs) or those in the hunt (Broncos, Browns).

Still, the Bengals can rejoice in the fact that Burrow and Chase are working well together again, and their team hasn’t suffered as many injuries as, say, the Ravens have in past weeks.

Next. 3 winners and 3 losers from Bengals demoralizing week 14 loss to 49ers. dark

Burrow and the Bengals face Teddy Bridgewater and the Broncos in another crucial matchup in Week 15.