Bengals could somehow stumble their way into the playoffs without Joe Burrow

This would be pretty wild!

Cincinnati Bengals v Jacksonville Jaguars
Cincinnati Bengals v Jacksonville Jaguars / Courtney Culbreath/GettyImages
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A week ago, the Cincinnati Bengals were 5-6 and didn't look like a team deserving of being in the playoff conversation. After seeing Jake Browning throw for over 300 yards and look like a solid option at quarterback while Joe Burrow is out, however, things don't seem as bleak now for the Stripes moving forward.

As Santori Miles pointed out on X, the Bengals are only a game out of being as high as the 5-seed. The teams ahead of them for that coveted spot are all teams coming up on their schedule.

In other words, if the Bengals win those games (against backup quarterbacks, nonetheless), they could stumble their way into the playoffs.

Can the Bengals make the playoffs after all?

Now it's worth mentioning that the Bengals also have a backup quarterback and we've now seen two games from Browning. In one game, he looked like a backup quarterback, and in the other, he looked better than several starters in the league. We don't know for sure which version of Browning the Bengals will have moving forward because of the small sample size.

Another thing to take into account here is that the Bengals defense has been a massive disappointment this year. Even though Cincinnati won on Monday night, their defense gave up 31 points and let the Jaguars throw the ball wherever they wanted.

Until the defense gets fixed, I'm not sure I can realistically buy into the Bengals moving forward, even if Browning continues to play well. That's also a big if. Browning was a backup quarterback for a reason. Will he be able to play well every week down the stretch? Will the defense be able to make key stops?

The AFC Wild Card race will be pretty crazy and the Cincinnati Bengals sure appear to be in the hunt for a playoff spot.

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