The big story behind the loss to Chicago and its possible effect on the Bengals comes in the form of how many slots the AFCN will get in the playoffs. We have been spoiled with 2 or even 3 spots in the last few years and that has maybe damaged the sense of urgency from game 1 in Bengal-land. But it's wake-up time: it is already clear that there is only going to be one slot - the division winner - going to the playoffs this year. The Dolphins and Buffalo are playing solid football. Tennessee and Indianapolis are not waiting for anyone to develop and are already staking claims to the slot behind Houston. And 3-0 Kansas City is clearly in the hunt for this year's revival team and there are signs of life from the left coast and San Diego. That's six teams aside from either the Bengals or Ravens trying to snag 2 wild cards. Not including Pittsburgh. Every one of those teams along with the frontrunners in each division has an easier schedule than the Bengals, with the exception of the Dolphins. Denver, SD, KC and the Colts have 4 of the 5 EASIEST schedules in all of football. Houston, Buffalo and the Titans round out the ten EASIEST schedules with the Steelers knocking on the door at #11. So let's put it this way - there is no second place in the AFCN this season and we've gifted one game to the Ravens which, in my mind, takes us instantly out of the elite category. There can't be a second gift as we struggle to prove that we're good enough.