The Cincinnati Bengals don't necessarily have an easy path ahead with the opponents they have to play. It is still safe to say they control their own destiny when it comes to making or missing the postseason.
Cincinnati has one of the hardest remaining schedules, with games against the Chiefs, Buccaneers, Patriots, Bills, Browns, and Ravens all on tap. Dating back to last year, the Bengals tend to rise to the occasion against tougher opponents in meaningful games. That is a key reason to believe that this will boat well for the Bengals.
Here are three vital reasons the Bengals will find themselves in the postseason for the second straight year.
Hold tiebreakers against Dolphins, Jets, and Titans
You may look at this now and think it isn't such a big deal, but this puts Cincinnati in a position with the upper hand against two teams who are firmly in the race for the AFC playoff picture. Not to mention Cincinnati still has games remaining against both the Bills and Patriots, who are also well within the race.
Currently, the Jets are 7-4 like the Bengals, which now gives Cincinnati the edge in the standings, while the Dolphins are 8-3. That said, just a one-game difference from the Bengals is a big deal.
The Bengals take on New England on the road, and then the Bills will come down the second to last week in a Monday Night Football showdown. The Titans tiebreaker only comes into play if the Bengals win their division and finish with the same record as Tennessee.
Only need 3 more wins
The magic number is 10. If the Bengals can get to 10 wins, they should be just fine getting into the postseason. Last year. they won 10 games and were the No. 4 seed. Now, that may not occur this year due to the Ravens' final stretch of games being fairly easy and still having the lead in the AFC North, but 10 wins will do the trick to clinch a spot in the dance.
There is a chance that nine wins even get them an opportunity, but that is no guarantee and will more than likely require some extra help and chips to fall in the Bengals way down the stretch of the season.
In similar scenario last season
The Bengals went into Week 10 BYE at 5-4, exactly like last season, and they were actually in third place in the AFC North and went on to win the division. At this moment, the Ravens are in first place with a 7-4 record and have head to head win over the Bengals, which is why they're still in front after Baltimore lost this weekend. Cincinnati will see Baltimore during the final week of the season once again and that could decide who wins the AFC North if both teams win out up until that point.
There are different situations with the records, schedule, and overall performance and health of the teams. Still, it is a very similar scenario for the Bengals and one that they have experienced before—having to win big games down the stretch of the season.
Having experience in certain situations can benefit you in the long run, and these types of scenarios aren't something you can practice. This team knows what it takes, the magic numbers of wins they need to get to, and has dealt with plenty of adversity before.