We are officially past the halfway point of the 2022 regular season and the Cincinnati Bengals have a 5-4 record. With how competitive everyone thought the AFC would be this season, most fans would have taken a record barely over .500 but the four losses certainly didn't come against who fans would have predicted.
Starting the season 0-2 looked like it could be a death sentence for Cincinnati but they rebounded, winning five of their next seven games. The other two losses weren't great, as they lost the first battle against the Ravens and then got blown out by the Browns (again) but hey -- They rebounded and everything they want is right in front of them.
The bad news is that if the season ended right now, the Bengals would not be in the playoffs. The good news is that we still have two months of football to be played so anything is possible as we inch closer to the finish line.
Bengals Playoff Picture following Week 9 victory
1. Buffalo Bills (6-2)
2. Kansas City Chiefs (6-2)
3. Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
4. Tennessee Titans (5-3)
5. New York Jets (6-3)
6. Miami Dolphins (6-3)
7. Los Angeles Chargers (5-3)
In the Hunt: New England Patriots (5-4), Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)
The Bills and Chiefs are the two best teams not only in the AFC but in the entire league as well and no one is going to argue that. The Ravens lead the AFC North with a one-game advantage over Cincinnati but they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker as well, so the Bengals need to get an extra win to grab that division lead. The Titans are probably going to win the pitiful AFC South but again, anything can happen.
As for the Wild Card teams, which as of now, looks to be the Bengals' best bet at getting into the playoffs, the Jets would be a playoff team if the season ended this week and they'd go to Tennessee in the Wild Card round, which would be a sneaky-good game. The Dolphins would travel to Baltimore for a rematch of Week 2 and the Chargers would head to Kansas City for a wild AFC West showdown.
Obviously the playoffs would be more fun if the reigning AFC champions were participating but the Bengals only have themselves to blame for that. Fortunately, there's still time for the good guys to punch their ticket to the playoffs.