Bengals Postseason Scenarios Come Down To One Game: Week 16 Against The Steelers

Jeff Gross

The Cincinnati Bengals have a certain destiny to themselves this year. Could they win double-digit games and not even make the playoffs? Yet everything points to one game. Week 16 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Well.

The playoff picture certainly didn't change much. Sure the Bengals didn't lose ground with a gritty and gusty 20-13 win over the Chargers in San Diego. But the Baltimore Ravens continue to look like a bloated and (dare I say overrated) nine-win team while the Andrew Luck continues impressing upon the league that the Indianapolis Colts are back.

The Cincinnati Bengals have a strong handle on the No. 7 seed, distancing themselves with a two-game advantage over teams like the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. The Pittsburgh Steelers hold onto the Sixth Seed due to the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week Seven and the Colts eight wins have them securing the Fifth Seed.

Ultimately it appears that the Bengals and Steelers are headed for a showdown in Week 16. Obviously Cincinnati controls their own Wild Card destiny if they win their final four games on their schedule, which includes a win over the Steelers and an overall better record (even if Pittsburgh wins their other three games).

Yet the Bengals have to win that game, or else they're relying on other teams to drop Pittsburgh twice for a .500 record during their final four games. And even then it's murky. Now. A bunch of scenarios.

  • If the Bengals win out, they win a Wild Card berth.
  • If the Steelers win out, they win a Wild Card berth.

Those are the two obvious.

BEAT THE STEELERS, LOSE TO THE RAVENS

Now if the Bengals beat the Cowboys, Eagles, Steelers and lose the Ravens while the Steelers beat the Chargers, Cowboys and Browns, Pittsburgh will claim the wild card based on the winning percentage within the division (if the tiebreaker is determined between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh... teams in different divisions require a slightly different tiebreaker process).

WEEK 14 WEEK 15 WEEK 16 WEEK 17 WHO WINS
Bengals Beat Dallas Beat Eagles Beat Steelers Lose to Ravens
Steelers Beat Chargers Beat Dallas Lose to Bengals Beat Browns Steelers Clinch

BEAT THE STEELERS AND RAVENS

If the Bengals lose to the Cowboys or the Eagles, but win the remaining games, they'll claim the Wild Card due to a better winning percentage in the conference.

WEEK 14 WEEK 15 WEEK 16 WEEK 17 WHO WINS
Bengals Win/Lose Cowboys Win/Lose Eagles Beat Steelers Beat Ravens Bengals clinch
Steelers Beat Chargers Beat Dallas Lose to Bengals Beat Browns

Note how much easier things become with wins against the Ravens and Steelers. They have to win three out of four no matter the scenario (because it introduces more teams, or distances from the Steelers) and one of those wins must be against the Steelers.

LOSE TO THE STEELERS

This is where things are extremely complicated. Even if the Bengals beat the Ravens, Eagles and Cowboys, their loss to the Steelers requires multiple Pittsburgh losses to clinch. The only tiebreaker relevant at this point is head-to-head and having been swept by the Steelers, the Bengals require Pittsburgh to go .500 if the Bengals win three of their final four. Whatever the records, it has to be better than Pittsburgh's overall record. Pick your two games below.

WEEK 14 WEEK 15 WEEK 16 WEEK 17 WHO WINS
Bengals Beat Cowboys Beat Eagles Lose to Steelers Beat Ravens Bengals clinch
Steelers Win/Lose Chargers Win/Lose Dallas Beat Bengals Win/Lose Browns

RECORD AGAINST COMMON OPPONENTS


OPPONENT Bengals Steelers
RAVENS 0-1 (Week 17) 1-1
BROWNS 1-1 0-1 (Week 17)
REDSKINS 1-0 1-0
GIANTS 1-0 1-0
CHIEFS 1-0 1-0
RAIDERS 1-0 0-1
BRONCOS 0-1 0-1
CHARGERS 1-0 Week 14
COWBOYS Week 14 Week 15
EAGLES Week 15 1-0
6-3 5-4
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Cincy Jungle

You must be a member of Cincy Jungle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cincy Jungle. You should read them.

Join Cincy Jungle

You must be a member of Cincy Jungle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cincy Jungle. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker