Bengals Playoff Picture: Cincinnati clinches AFC North
The Cincinnati Bengals are AFC North champions and will host their first playoff game since the 2015 season. There will be playoff football in the Jungle and the fan base couldn’t be more stoked. Let’s take a look at the Bengals playoff picture.
While the Bengals are for sure going to the postseason, there are still some loose ends to tie up in the final week of the regular season. Cincinnati doesn’t have a particular seed locked up yet and even the No. 1 seed is in play for them right now, though it won’t come easy.
For Cincy, they need to take care of business against the Browns and then hope both the Titans and Chiefs lose. KC plays on Saturday so we’ll already know the result of that game when the stripes take the field on Sunday afternoon.
Here is the Bengals playoff picture entering Week 18.
- Tennessee Titans (11-5)
- Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)
- Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
- Buffalo Bills (10-6)
- New England Patriots (10-6)
- Indianapolis Colts (9-7)
- Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)
IN THE HUNT: Las Vegas Raiders (9-7), Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1), Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
If this were a traditional NFL season, the regular season would be over and the Bengals would be the No. 3 seed and hosting the Colts in the first round. Fortunately for them, they still have a shot at the No. 1 seed if both the Titans and Chiefs lose. Tennessee faces the lowly Texans (though did lose to them earlier in the season) and Kansas City squares off against Denver.
There’s been some talk if the Bengals will rest their starters now that they’re officially playoff-bound but the stripes still have a lot to play for and that’s why I’d imagine we’d see Joe Burrow and company at least for some of the game. Maybe the game gets out of hand by either side early on and if that’s the case, the starters probably exit and we see JV football for the rest of the regular season.
The Colts and Chargers are the only teams listed above who haven’t clinched a spot just yet but they’re in “win and in” scenarios entering the final week of the season. If the Colts beat the Jaguars and the Chargers beat the Raiders, they’ll both be in the postseason and the Bengals will likely face one of them.
It’s nice to finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Cincinnati is in the big dance. Now how far will they go?