The Cincinnati Bengals wouldn’t be a playoff team if the season ended today. With four games left and five teams sitting with a 7-6 record, the AFC is a complete and total tossup when it comes to who will be punching their ticket to the postseason.
Let’s take a look at three teams who stand in the Bengals’ way of getting into the playoffs for the first time since the 2015 season.
3. Los Angeles Chargers
If the season finished up today, the Los Angeles Chargers would be in the playoffs as the No. 5 seed but they’re still vying for a shot to win the AFC West. If they take down the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football, they’ll be in that top spot in the AFC West.
The reason the Chargers stand in Cincy’s way of making the playoffs is that they hold the tiebreaker over them. The two teams squared off in week 13 and after falling into a 24-0 hole, coming back and making it a 24-22 game, and then fumbling when the good guys finally had momentum, lost by 19 points.
That loss could really come back to bite the stripes at season’s end because at the time of that matchup, Cincy was the No. 5 seed and LA was the No. 7 seed. They swapped spots after the Bengals lost and after Cincy lost again this past week, they fell out of the playoff picture altogether.
If there’s one spot left and the Chargers and Bengals finish the season with the same record, Los Angeles would be the one to make the postseason.