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Bengals Week 15 playoff picture and rooting guide (UPDATE)

The Bengals won and got some much-needed help.

Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Update: Here is where the Bengals are at after a wild Saturday that effectively saw them go 3-0 in games they needed wins in.

1. Baltimore Ravens (10-3)

2. Miami Dolphins (9-4)

3. Kansas City Chiefs (8-5, win over JAX)

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-5, loss to KC)

5. Cleveland Browns (8-5)

6. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6, win over IND)

7. Indianapolis Colts (8-6, loss to CIN)

8. Houston Texans (7-6, 4-4 AFC)

9. Buffalo Bills (7-6, 4-5 AFC)

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7, 5-5 AFC)

11. Denver Broncos (7-7, 4-5 AFC)

12. Las Vegas Raiders (6-8)

13. New York Jets (5-8, strength of victory > TEN)

14. Tennessee Titans (5-8, strength of victory < NYJ)

15. Los Angeles Chargers (5-9)

16. New England Patriots (3-10)

Because they took down the Vikings in overtime while the Steelers and Broncos both lost, the Bengals are now back in a Wild Card spot.

However, the Bengals will need some help to stay there in the coming weeks, so having teams like the Texans and Bills lose today would certainly help out.

Of course, the Bengals can win out and make the playoffs, but it’d still be nice to have some of these other contenders lose.


The Cincinnati Bengals remain in the hunt for a spot in the postseason, thanks to their two straight wins behind backup quarterback Jake Browning. While the Bengals winning their games is most important, they can get some help from across the league.

Here is your Week 15 rooting guide.

Bengals Rooting Guide Week 15

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Indianapolis Colts on Saturday at 4:30 pm (NFL Network):

Root for: The Colts.

Reason: While the Colts are currently above the Bengals in the standings, them knocking off Pittsburgh is best for the Bengals at this point. Pittsburgh has an identical record to Cincinnati’s 7-6, but they currently have a head-to-head win against the Bengals. Their conference record is 5-4 to the Bengals’ 3-6, so an AFC loss on their record bodes well for the Bengals. If the Colts win and the Bengals wind up tied with them at the end of the year, the Week 14 head-to-head win will be important for the Bengals.

Denver Broncos @ Detroit Lions on Saturday at 8:15 pm (NFL Network):

Root for: The Lions.

Reason: After a bad start to the season, Denver has improved to 7-6 and is right in the thick of the playoff picture. While they play out of conference, Detroit getting the win would move the Bengals ahead of Denver, provided the Bengals beat the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday.

Chicago Bears @ Cleveland Browns on Sunday @ 1:00 pm (Fox):

Root for: The Bears.

Reason: Cleveland edges out the Bengals in overall record (8-5), conference record (6-3) and as of now, own a head-to-head advantage over Cincinnati ahead of their Week 18 meeting. Losing to an NFC team won’t hurt their conference record, but it could help bring them equal to the Bengals in overall record. Count on rooting against Cleveland the rest of the way (you likely have been doing that all season).

Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans on Sunday at 1 pm (CBS):

Root for: The Titans.

Reason: The Texans have the same record as the Bengals at 7-6 but hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bengals from their November 12th win in Cincinnati. With a 4-4 conference record, they have the edge over Cincinnati there too. With C.J. Stroud’s status in doubt due to the NFL’s concussion protocol, Tennessee may be able to do the Bengals a favor on Sunday.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Buffalo Bills on Sunday at 4:25 pm (FOX):

Root For: The Cowboys

Reason: With an identical record and the head-to-head win, the Bengals are ahead of the Bills in playoff seeding, but Buffalo dropping a game can’t hurt. Buffalo does possess a better AFC record than Cincinnati, but that won’t change this week, regardless. Dallas adding another loss to Buffalo’s 7-6 record would give the Bengals more cushion over the Bills, provided they beat Minnesota.

Baltimore Ravens @ Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at 8:20 pm (NBC)

Root for: The Jaguars.

Reason: Both teams will likely win their divisions and occupy a playoff spot, so root for the Ravens to lose because it’s fun when they lose.

And here’s a recap of the playoff picture entering Week 15.

AFC Playoff Picture Week 15

1 - Baltimore Ravens (10-3, AFC North leader)

2 - Miami Dolphins (9-4, AFC East leader)

3 - Kansas City Chiefs (8-5, AFC West leader)

4 - Jacksonville Jaguars (8-5, AFC South leader)

5 - Cleveland Browns (8-5, Wild Card)

6 - Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6, Wild Card)

7 - Indianapolis Colts (7-6, Wild Card)

Houston Texans (7-6)

Denver Broncos (7-6)

Cincinnati Bengals (7-6)

Buffalo Bills (7-6)

Los Angeles Chargers (5-8)

Las Vegas Raiders (5-8)

New York Jets (5-8)

Tennessee Titans (4-8)

New England Patriots (3-10)