Thanks to a wild NFL regular season, the AFC playoffs won't be set until Week 17 has concluded.
As of now, the New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs have clinched a playoff berths. Other than that, seeding is very much up for grabs this Sunday with all four of those teams with the potential to move up or down in the AFC standings.
For the Bengals, they enter the Week as the No. 3 seed, the lowest they can earn, but still have a shot at the No. 2 seed. They'll need a lot to happen for that No. 2 seed and a first-round bye to be theirs, but it's possible.
Here's a look at this week's Bengals rooting interests.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns [CBS 1 pm]
Root For: The Browns
Reason: A win by the Browns here knocks the Steelers out of the playoff mix for good. Though erratic at times, Pittsburgh has the firepower to make a deep playoff run and end the Bengals' season in the Wild Card round, especially with Andy Dalton looking unlikely to play if Cincy plays in the first playoff weekend.
We've already seen several examples of vastly inferior teams upsetting divisional rivals. Just last week, 4-10 Baltimore upset 9-5 Pittsburgh to potentially knock the Steelers out of the playoff mix. One can't sleep on those 4-11 Browns pulling off an upset at home and sending the Steelers home for good. Just last year, Cleveland whipped Pittsburgh 31-10 at home.
Can they do it two years in a row?
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills [CBS 1 pm]
Root For: The Jets
Reason: As mentioned above, the Steelers can get back into the playoffs if they beat the Browns, but they'll also need the Jets to lose to the Bills. The Jets get the sixth seed if they win or tie the Bills.
We can all agree that, while the Jets are a good team, they simply are more beatable for Cincinnati, especially if they're playing with backup AJ McCarron.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals [FOX 1 pm]
Root For: The Bengals
Reason: With a victory over the Ravens, the Bengals will tie a franchise record with 12 wins in a single season. In each of the past and only two seasons that Cincinnati won 12 games, they've reached the Super Bowl (1981, 88).
Yeah, I'd say winning Sunday is pretty important for the Bengals.
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos [CBS 4:25 pm]
Root For: The Chargers
Reason: The Bengals are still in the running for the No. 2 seed, but in order to get it, they'll need to beat the Ravens and then have Denver either tie or lose to San Diego. As mentioned above, the rivalry factor could help the Chargers rise up and beat the Broncos.
I wouldn't count on it happening, but anything's possible. The only real difference between the two teams in their first matchup was Philip Rivers throwing a pick-six to Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan in a 17-3 loss. If not for that play, the game probably would have come down to the wire, which is what Bengals fans hope is the case again this week.
Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs [FOX 4:25 pm]
Root For: The Chiefs
Reason: Believe it or not, the Bengals can actually lose and win the AFC's No. 2 seed. In order for it to happen, the Broncos must lose to the Chargers and the Chiefs must win at home vs the Raiders.
It's worth noting that there's a scenario where the Chiefs end up the sixth seed and come to Cincinnati in the Wild Card round. They'd have to lose at home to the Raiders and then have the Jets beat the Bills.
At this point, I'm not willing to root for that to happen, especially in the small chance that Denver and Cincinnati lose, meaning a Kansas City win gives the Bengals the No. 2 seed.