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ESPN gives Bengals a slim chance of making 2018 NFL playoffs

The dream is still alive, though it’s hanging on by a thread after two games.

NFL: Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Cincinnati Bengals rebound from their 0-2 start?

Most fans are just hoping to see their Bengals be competitive and fun to watch again, something they haven’t been enough of in the first two games. However, the NFL presents a long season, which can allow forgiveness to teams that start slow.

Heck, the Bengals went 3-5 to start the 2012 season before winning seven of their final eight games to get back into the playoffs. Who’s to say these Bengals can’t have a similar rally that puts them in postseason contention?

Well, it’s not exactly something NFL teams do on a regular basis. Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders (via ESPN) did a breakdown of each 0-2 NFL team and their chances of making the playoffs.

For the Bengals, it’s a mere 6.6-percent chance that they rebound and get back into the postseason.

5. Cincinnati Bengals: 6.6 percent

The Bengals' collapse has been completely one-sided, essentially making them the Bizarro Saints. Cincinnati is dead last in offensive DVOA through two games but ranks 11th on defense and a surprising second on special teams (trailing only Detroit). Even if they rebound, strong starts for Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the AFC North are going to make it difficult for the Bengals to climb back into the playoff race.

The good news is Cincinnati has a recent example of a team starting out bad and rebounding to make the playoffs: The 2016 Miami Dolphins:

A year ago, Miami was 0-2 and 27th in Football Outsiders' DVOA ratings after two weeks. They didn't turn it around immediately, either; the Dolphins were 1-4 and 28th in DVOA after five weeks. But they went 9-2 the rest of the way to win an AFC wild card. And in 2015, two teams rebounded from 0-2 starts to make the playoffs: Seattle (23rd in DVOA after two weeks) and Houston (28th).

You’ll recall the Bengals actually handled Miami in a Thursday Night Football clash. Watching that game, no one would have guessed Miami would be the team making the playoffs this year.

Right now, no one would say the Bengals are making the playoffs. As bad of a start as this has been, there’s still plenty of season left, but the Bengals need to get their act together soon if they want to have a fun and enjoyable season the rest of the way.