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Examining Possible Scenarios For The Bengals To Clinch A Playoff Berth

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They really should lower the scoreboard so Reggie Nelson doesn't hurt his back seeing what other teams are doing.
They really should lower the scoreboard so Reggie Nelson doesn't hurt his back seeing what other teams are doing.

Here’s the easiest thing to remember as we examine scenarios for Cincinnati’s improbable road to secure a spot in the 2011 NFL Playoffs. Beat the Baltimore Ravens next week at Paul Brown Stadium and no matter what anyone else does, the Bengals the sixth seed for the playoffs. In other words, win and you’re in.

If the Cincinnati Bengals lose next weekend, that’s where things get convoluted in the playoff picture.

The following is based on a hypothetical scenario if the Cincinnati Bengals lose.

  • If everyone else loses, the Bengals are in.
  • If the Jets and Raiders lose and the Titans win, the Bengals are in based on head-to-head record.
  • If the Jets beat the Miami Dolphins, New York eliminates the Bengals due to the Jets' conference record.
  • If the Titans win and Jets win, both teams beat out the Bengals based on conference record. Titans make the playoffs due to their record in common against against the Jets.
  • If the Raiders win (but fail to secure the AFC West), Titans win and Jets win, the Raiders are in with a better strength of victory against the Titans and Jets and a better conference record against the Bengals.

Now the following scenarios are hypothetical with the Bengals losing, the Chargers beating the Lions (game is on-going right) and the Chargers beating the Raiders in week 17 along with the Broncos clinching the AFC West.

  • If the Titans, Jets and Chargers win, the Chargers are in securing strength of victory over the Titans, winning percentage in common games against the Jets and better conference record against the Bengals.

It boils down to this. The Bengals will virtually be eliminated if they don't beat the Baltimore Ravens thanks to their conference record, unless the planets align and the Raiders, Jets and Titans all lose (with a Chargers loss either this or next week) at the same time.

So let's not lose next weekend.