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Bengals’ playoff hopes on life support according to ESPN FPI

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A glimmer of hope is often all a team needs to keep going.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals’ season is fading fast.

After winning two straight and coming out of the bye week, it looked like Cincinnati was primed to make another run for a playoff berth, but those hopes were severely damaged in Pittsburgh last week.

It wasn’t that Cincinnati lost the game as much as how they lost. Even some of the best Bengals teams have struggled to win in Pittsburgh. Even so, the Bengals looked lifeless and inept after tying the game at 14-all in the second quarter, only to watch the Steelers end the game on a 15-0 run, while Cincinnati barely moved the ball an inch in the second half.

That has ESPN’s FPI souring on the Bengals’ playoff hopes. At 2-4, it’s becoming hard to see this team making it to the postseason, let alone overcoming the 5-2 Steelers for the AFC North title.

Those numbers should get a small boost if the Bengals can win at home versus the Indianapolis Colts. Then again, everyone expects that to be a win, so the FPI is probably already factoring that into their metics.

What’s going to really move the needle is if Cincinnati can score some wins they’re not projected to get, including matchups at Denver, at Jacksonville, at Minnesota, at Tennessee and home versus the Steelers.

Then the Bengals just need to take care of business at home versus Cleveland, Chicago, Indianapolis and Detroit to really get back into the playoff picture.

It won’t be easy, but it’s also far from impossible.