NFL Playoff Picture: Scenarios become complicated for the Bengals

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The Cincinnati Bengals loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers has complicated the postseason picture.

The 30-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers hurts Cincinnati's postseason scenarios. No matter how you look at it.

Obviously the case for every scenario and situation is that you have to take care of business, win the games on the schedule and everything will work itself out. When you have poor special teams play that puts Cincinnati into a 21-0 deficit by the end of the first quarter, you're tasked with a recovery or else have the team's spirit crushed. Frankly speaking, the Bengals didn't take care of business and now they're faced with must-win scenarios.

First of all, the Baltimore Ravens now have control of their own destiny.


And so do the Bengals.

With Cincinnati currently holding a 1.5-game lead in the division, a Ravens win over the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football will reduce the Bengals advantage to one game. If Baltimore wins in week 16, no matter what the Bengals do, the Ravens can clinch the division in week 17, either due to having a better record or the head-to-head tiebreaker (Baltimore beat the Bengals earlier this season). Cincinnati needs to win out to claim the division if the Ravens beat the Patriots this weekend.

Additionally, the Bengals (9-5) now have to worry about the Miami Dolphins (8-6), who beat Cincinnati earlier this year. If the Bengals lose one more game and the Dolphins win out, Miami secures the sixth seed and the Bengals are completely out -- unless the Ravens lose next week against the Patriots, then week 17 between the Bengals and Ravens could determine the AFC North, which may be the only avenue for either team to reach the postseason.

Either way, the Bengals can no longer afford to lose this season.

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