The Cincinnati Bengals took a 17-13 lead into the half against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday. The battle at Arrowhead Stadium swung towards the home side in the second half as Kansas City outscored Cincinnati 12-0 in the final 30 minutes.
Jake Browning ended with 197 passing yards and a touchdown. Joe Mixon was given the ball a game-high 21 times but turned that into just 65 yards. The Bengals showed some promise but ultimately dropped to 8-8.
That said, let’s dive into where the national media has ranked Cincinnati going into the final game of the season.
New York Post — No. 16 - Same as last week
Sporting News — No. 19 - Down from No. 16
The Bengals did their best to stay competitive in the AFC playoff race without Joe Burrow and found a capable backup in Jake Browning, but ultimately key defensive problems against running games and tight ends cost them.
Sharp Football Analysis — No. 22 - Down from No. 16
TheScore — No. 22 - Down from No. 19
Jake Browning has cooled off after a hot start as QB1, and the Bengals’ playoff chances have disappeared as a result. Still, hanging around for this long without Joe Burrow should be considered a win.
AZ Central — No. 20 - Down from No. 14
Lost to Chiefs, 25-17, to fall to 8-8. Eliminated from NFL playoff contention.
FanSided — No. 20 - Down from No. 17
The Bengals were in Kansas City as they and the Chiefs renewed acquaintances for the fifth time in three years. Zac Taylor’s squad owned a 17-7 second-quarter lead thanks in part to a Jake Browning TD toss and a touchdown run. However, the team was shut out the rest of the way and Browning was sacked five times in the second half. After reaching Super Bowl LVI in 2021 and going to the AFC Championship Game this past season, Taylor’s team has been eliminated from this year’s playoffs. The loss of Burrow combined with a porous defense proved fatal.