AFC Playoff Picture after Week 15: Bengals would be in the dance

All ya gotta do is get to the dance.
Minnesota Vikings v Cincinnati Bengals
Minnesota Vikings v Cincinnati Bengals / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

While the Cincinnati Bengals are officially eliminated from winning the AFC North for a third straight season, there is some good news. With the Bengals' win in Week 15 and other things going their way as well, the Bengals would be in the playoffs if the season ended today!

The only AFC team that has clinched a playoff spot is Baltimore, who are 11-3 on the year. They own the best record in the conference and still control their own destiny toward getting the No. 1 seed. If they win out, the 1-seed is theirs. Beating Miami in two weeks would go a long way to getting them the first-round bye as well.

Anyway, let's check out the playoff picture now that all of the AFC games are wrapped up for the week.

AFC playoff picture after Week 15

  1. Baltimore Ravens (11-3)*
  2. Miami Dolphins (10-4)
  3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-5)
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6)
  5. Cleveland Browns (9-5)
  6. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)
  7. Indianapolis Colts (8-6)

In the hunt: Houston Texans (8-6), Buffalo Bills (8-6), Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7), Denver Broncos (7-7)

*indicates that a team has clinched a playoff spot

If the season ended right now, the Dolphins would host the Colts, the Chiefs would host the Bengals, and the Jaguars would host the Browns. The Ravens would get the first-round bye and would then host the worst-seed in the divisional round.

The Bengals have a 32% chance of making the playoffs and that's their conference and division records coming back to bite them. They have just three wins in the conference and are 0-4 in the division. Fortunately, their wins over the Bills, Colts, and Jaguars are going to be massive for them in tiebreaker scenarios, as all three of those teams share the same record as Cincinnati.

The Bengals face the Steelers in Week 16 and will try to get their first divisional win of the season. That'd also give them their fourth conference win of the year, which will help them in tiebreaker scenarios down the stretch.


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