The Bengals have been to a franchise-best five-straight playoff berths. Will they make it six in a row this season?
It’s hard to tell after four weeks and a 2-2 record. While Cincinnati is still on track to make the postseason after a tough schedule over the first month, there have been plenty of issues with this team, combined with the emergence of several other AFC teams, to make it appear as though the Bengals may not be favored to make it back to the playoffs.
According to FiveThirtyEight.com, their latest playoff odds gives the Bengals a 43-percent chance of making it to the postseason. Somehow, the Chiefs are ahead of them with 56-percent chance odds. Those are the same Chiefs that just lost 36-14 (were down 36-0 in 4th quarter) at Pittsburgh, the same venue that Cincinnati lost in thanks in part to a horrific fumble call in the closing minutes.
Even worse is Buffalo with a 47-percent chance of making it to the playoffs. The Bills haven’t been to the playoffs since the 1999 season and are 2-2 this season. Their wins are over the 1-3 Cardinals and a Patriots team that was playing with an injured third-string quarterback.
Also coming in ahead of Cincinnati is Carolina with a 47-percent chance of getting to the playoffs. That same team is 1-3 and coming off a two-game losing streak, not to mention Cam Newton is dealing with a concussion and may not play this week.
Even Pittsburgh with an 82-percent chance of making it to the postseason seems surprisingly high in comparison to the Bengals. It’s not as though there is that much separation between the Bengals and Steelers, but this study indicates otherwise.
What is it with all of these studies coming up with results that seem to discount the Bengals? Wake me when it’s January and the Bengals are playing on Wild Card weekend. That’s a lot more than teams like Buffalo has done in almost two decades. I guess people are just getting bored with Cincinnati continually being in the playoffs.
Here’s a study for you: If the Bengals are able to keep the majority of their starters healthy this season and have all of their major-impact players (Tyler Eifert, A.J. Green, Andy Dalton, Vontaze Burfict, Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, Adam Jones, Andrew Whitworth) for 90-percent of the rest of the regular season, I give the Bengals a 100-percent chance of making the playoffs.
I’m simply not betting against a healthy Bengals team getting back to the playoffs, and anyone who does is being foolish (or trying to make headlines).