The big news out of Bengals camp is Rich Braham is back doing on-field work. No, he’s not practicing just yet, but he’s close. Damn close. We’re close to leaping over that injury hump that's stalled our progression since week two. Levi Jones should be back fairly soon putting the offensive line back at full strength with plenty of time left to make a playoff run.
It's still reasonable to suggest Cincinnati will earn a wild card spot . You can pretty much assume the AFC West will take the first wild card spot (either Denver or San Diego). The Bengals have already beaten the Chiefs and own the tie-breaker (head-to-head). Beating San Diego will help, but not much. San Diego’s remaining schedule includes only four games against team’s with a winning record. Cincinnati still plays Baltimore, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Denver and obviously San Diego. So, let’s assume the Chargers or Broncos pick up the first wild card.
The competition for the second wild card spot is much tighter. Jacksonville (5-3) and Kansas City (5-3) are the leaders for the second spot. Cincinnati would own the head-to-head tie-breaker against the Chiefs. Kansas City still has to play the Broncos, Ravens, Chargers and Jaguars. Jacksonville still has the Giants, Colts, Patriots and Chiefs on their schedule. I believe that the second wild card spot is Cincinnati’s if they can play to their potential. The Bills also have a shot, but still face the Colts, Jaguars, Chargers and Ravens.
If the Bengals can turn the page, from an optimistic perspective, they have a great shot at picking up the second wild card. Of course, that would suggest egos and players with their own agendas can put their selfishness aside and do all they can for the team – not themselves.
Johnson's recent play for Bengals laughable [Union Tribune]
Bengals offense looking for results [USA Today]
Disappointment over .500 mark shows just how far the Bengals have come [North County Times]
Palmer says he's still a work in progress [Beacon Journal]