The Bengals are in great shape to make the playoffs as they hit the bye week with a 5-3 record.
However, a number of games taking place this weekend can impact Cincinnati’s playoff chances, even though they won’t be in action on Sunday. Here is a look at the biggest games taking place this weekend and who Bengals fans should be working for.
The Dolphins are one of the few AFC teams who still have a realistic shot at the playoffs. At 4-4, they’ll need to win two more games than the Bengals to make the playoffs since the Bengals have a head-to-head win. But Miami has a manageable schedule the rest of the way, so they could easily get back in the mix for a Wild Card spot that the Bengals may be competing for if they don’t win the division. It’s unlikely Miami catches Cincinnati, but a loss here would end any hope of that happening.
Root for the Jets
The Chargers are already in great shape to make the playoffs with a 5-2 record, but a loss here would put them in a tie with the Bengals. Ideally, the Chargers lose several games down the stretch and allow the Bengals to jump ahead of them in the playoff standings. There’s a chance the Bengals and Chargers are fighting for the final playoff spot, so seeing the latter lose this week is helpful, especially since it’s going to be very hard for the Bengals to win in Los Angeles later this year.
Root for the Seahawks
The Steelers and Ravens have their second matchup after the latter won at Pittsburgh earlier this season. A sweep here would severely damage the Steelers’ hopes of winning a division, while a loss for Baltimore would really damage their playoff hopes.
Now, there’s two ways you can look at this:
- If the Ravens lose, the Bengals will be ahead of them by 1.5 in the playoff standings, which means the latter is in great shape for one of those two Wild Card spots.2
- If the Steelers lose, the Bengals jump back into the lead for the AFC North. It’s going to be a tight race, so coming out of the bye with a lead would be great for Cincinnati.
The good thing is it’s clear the Bengals can benefit from either scenario, but really, there isn’t much doubt among Bengals fans on who to root for this week.
Root for the Ravens