After a much-needed week off, the Cincinnati Bengals watched as the AFC playoff picture had some drastic changes. While it didn't help them get into the big dance, the No. 1 overall seed did change.
Let's jump right into the AFC playoff picture, shall we?
AFC Playoff Seedings (Bengals sadly not included)
1. Kansas City Chiefs (7-2)
2. Miami Dolphins (7-3)
3. Tennessee Titans (6-3)
4. Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
5. New York Jets (6-3)
6. Buffalo Bills (6-3)
7. New England Patriots (5-4)
In the hunt: Los Angeles Chargers (5-4), Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)
As I mentioned earlier, the playoff picture shifted dramatically, as the Bills' loss to the Vikings knocked them not only from the top spot of the AFC playoff picture but out of the top of the AFC East as well. If the season ended right now, they'd be a Wild Card team. That's a huge fall for a team that many pegged as the Super Bowl favorite this season.
If the NFL season wrapped up right now, we'd see the Dolphins host the Patriots, the Titans host the Bills, and the Ravens host the Jets in the Wild Card with the Chiefs waiting to play the worst remaining seed. The Bengals would be watching the playoffs from home.
There's still a lot of football to be played so it's entirely possible that the Bengals get back into the playoff picture but doing it as a division champion will be difficult. The Ravens own the head-to-head advantage over them and also are a game ahead of them in the standings. Baltimore also has a more favorable schedule down the stretch while Cincinnati has to deal with the consequences of playing a first-place schedule.
It won't be easy to punch their second straight ticket to the playoffs, especially with the number of injuries this team has racked up, but anything is possible. Any given Sunday, right?