AFC Playoff Picture, Week 9: Bengals gain momentum but still on outside looking in

Cincinnati Bengals v San Francisco 49ers
Cincinnati Bengals v San Francisco 49ers / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Bengals are riding a three-game win streak after starting the season 1-3 and now sit at 4-3. They recently took care of business against the San Francisco 49ers, handling them by double-digits but still sitting at the bottom of the AFC North, even with the win.

The win put the Bengals in a better spot when it comes to the playoff picture but they're still on the outside looking in as it stands entering Week 9. Let's check out the playoff picture.

AFC playoff picture entering Week 9

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (6-2)
  2. Miami Dolphins (6-2)
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-2)
  4. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
  5. Buffalo Bills (5-3)
  6. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)
  7. Cleveland Browns (4-3)

In the hunt: New York Jets (4-3), Cincinnati Bengals (4-3)

It's rare to see all four division leaders with the same record but this has been a weird season. Every AFC North team would be in the playoffs except for the Bengals but that could change as early as this week, as losses for the Steelers and Browns would move them out of the postseason picture.

The Chiefs would be the No. 1 seed if the season ended today and would earn the first-round bye. The Dolphins would host the Browns, the Jaguars would host the Steelers, and the Bills would host the Steelers in the divisional round. The Bengals, sadly, would be watching the playoffs from home.

Fortunately, we're at the halfway point of the season and this is when the Cincinnati Bengals start to heat up and play their best ball. This playoff picture won't exclude the Bengals for much longer.