Clinching Scenarios for the Cincinnati Bengals

Stephen Dunn

Taking a look at how the postseason picture will play out based on three critical games for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Win the game.

It's a concept born from the establishment of sports, since the first rock throwing contest, harness race or gladiatorial battle. Just win the game. Simply said, often difficult to apply, but crucial for the celebratory chants from the masses that mob Paul Brown Stadium on a beautiful defined Sunday.

Win the game and whatever happens, happens.

Win the game and the Miami Dolphins lose in Buffalo, the Bengals clinch a postseason berth. They'll secure the sixth seed, at the very worst. Win the game and watch the New England Patriots beat the Baltimore Ravens, the Bengals secure their first AFC North title since 2009 and third during the Marvin Lewis reign. You can hope that the Ravens beat the Patriots to offer a showdown in week 17 and a No. 2 seed if the Bengals beat the Ravens all that you want.

Here's a cheat sheet:

WINNER
Vikings/Bengals
WINNER
Patriots/Ravens
WINNER
Dolphins/Bills
BENGALS IN AFC BENGALS IN AFCN
No change. Chance at No. 2 seed with Week 17 Win. Week 17 determines champion.
Clinch postseason berth. Chance at No. 2 seed with Week 17 Win. Week 17 determines champion.
Clinch postseason berth as division champs. Chance at the No. 2 seed w/ a win and Patriots loss in week 17. AFC North Champions
Clinch postseason berth as division champs. Chance at the No. 2 seed w/ a win and Patriots loss in week 17. AFC North Champions
Fall out of the playoff race. Need a week 17 win over the Ravens to get in. Ravens take lead (by virtue of tiebreaker). Week 17 determines champion.
Fall to No. 6 seed because the Ravens will hold the division lead by virtue of a tiebreaker. Ravens take lead (by virtue of tiebreaker). Week 17 determines champion.
Eliminated from No. 2 seed. Fall to No. 4 w/ a Colts win. Need a Dolphins loss in week 17 for a wild card spot. Hold a one-game lead over the Ravens. Week 17 determines champion.
Eliminated from No. 2 seed. Fall to No. 4 w/ a Colts win. Need a Dolphins loss in week 17 for a wild card spot. Hold a one-game lead over the Ravens. Week 17 determines champion.
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