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Bengals clinch playoff berth as Jags beat Jets

Cincinnati will be in the postseason for the second-straight season.

While early indications of how the season was going to play out were far from positive, the Cincinnati Bengals have roared back, despite having one of the most difficult second-half schedules.

Cincinnati has won six straight games, defeating the Tom Brady-led Bucs and Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs in that span. It also took down division foes Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

While that helped the Bengals get to this point, they have officially clinched a playoff berth after the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are now 7-8, took down the then-7-7 New York Jets on Thursday Night Football.

A Trevor Lawrence reach over the goal line was the lone touchdown of the night for either side. He ended with 51 rushing yards and has shown drastic improvements this season behind head coach Doug Peterson.

The Jets had early-season success with running back Breece Hall, who went down with a season-ending knee injury. They have struggled lately without Mike White or Joe Flacco available. C.J. Uzomah did have a 30-yard reception for them against Jacksonville.

The Bengals have much higher expectations than just making the playoffs, especially sitting atop the AFC North.

Clinching the division would ensure a second straight year with a home playoff game, and finding a way to top either the Chiefs or Bills, both of which are 11-3, would guarantee the division round would also be in Cincinnati if the Bengals take down their first-round opponent.

The Bengals have the Patriots, Bills, and Ravens remaining on their schedule. The Chiefs have Seattle, Denver, and Las Vegas which should lock them in with the easiest remaining schedule of the three teams.

Kansas City is the only one of the three that currently is without a team that would make the playoffs if the season ended today. Nonetheless, crazier things have happened, and the Bengals having two, or even three, home playoff games is, at the very least, possible.