Bengals Playoff Picture following regular season

Kristen Wong
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

If watching Brandon Allen start at quarterback for one game in the 2021 season meant the Cincinnati Bengals would be in the playoffs, so be it.

The Bengals lost their final regular-season game to the Cleveland Browns, falling 21-16 in the battle of the backups.

Ja’Marr Chase played, but only briefly so that he could break Chad Johnson’s franchise record (1,440) for the most receiving yards in a single season.

It was an ugly game offensively for the orange and black, whose only touchdown came when linebacker Trayvon Henderson recovered a Browns fumble and took it to the house in the second quarter.

No matter.

The Bengals are officially in the 2021 playoffs. Other teams had to watch excruciating overtime periods to see if they made it to the postseason, but all Cincy had to do was suffer through Brandon Allen.

Here’s what the AFC playoff picture looks like after the regular season:

  1. Tennessee Titans (12-5)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)
  3. Buffalo Bills (11-6)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (10-7)
  5. Las Vegas Raiders (10-7)
  6. New England Patriots (10-7)
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1)

Cincinnati Bengals will face Las Vegas Raiders in Wild Card Round

After Week 18, the Bengals have earned the fourth seed in the AFC, ranked the lowest of all other division-winning teams.

That’s no matter, either.

Cincy was never going to win the top seed, not with the Titans and Chiefs taking care of business in Week 18, and it was a much safer move to bench Joe Burrow and take the loss than risk their star quarterback getting injured.

The Cincinnati Bengals will host the Raiders on Saturday afternoon after Las Vegas defeated the Los Angeles Chargers in a wildly entertaining overtime thriller.

Should Brandon Staley have called that timeout? Were the Raiders ever really going to kneel?

The Raiders-Chargers game ended in one of the most unexpectedly climactic ways possible (technically, both teams could have just tied to get in), but the Raiders took the W and will be facing Cincy in the Wild Card Round.

Cincinnati will have their hands full with elite pass-rusher Maxx Crosby bringing the heat to Joe Burrow; the team’s defense will also be put to the test against running back Josh Jacobs and the uber-productive Hunter Renfrow.

Both teams, however, will be on the verge of making history.

Next. Winners and losers from Bengals’ week 18 snoozer vs. Browns. dark

This is what Joe Burrow and Co. have been waiting forever since Week 1: their first playoff win since 1991 and hopefully much more. Go get ’em.