clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL Playoffs: Clinching scenarios for the Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals can win the AFC North championship this weekend with a little help.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

We have to give the Baltimore Ravens credit. No, no. We're humble folk.

Down by five with over two minutes remaining against the Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore scored three times to overcome unlikely scoring possessions (41-yard touchdown by Toby Gerhart, 79-yard touchdown by Cordarrelle Patterson) from Minnesota. The lead changed hands six times in the quarter, setting an NFL record.

Despite failing to score a touchdown against the Detroit Lions on Monday, Baltimore once again used a last-second score to complete a fourth quarter comeback. With 2:27 remaining in the fourth quarter, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford completed a 14-yard throw to tight end Joseph Fauria to take a 16-15 lead -- Calvin Johnson dropped the two-point conversion.

Joe Flacco moved Baltimore 24 yards to the Lions 43-yard line when the Ravens used their final timeout, leaving :43 seconds on the clock. Place-kicker Justin Tucker nailed a 61-yarder, giving Baltimore a comfortable 18-16 lead only :38 seconds on the clock. Stafford carelessly lobbed the football to Ravens safety Matt Elam, securing Baltimore's win.

Baltimore's win, along with the Bengals loss to the Steelers, reduces Cincinnati's lead to one game in the division.

What now?


For the Bengals to win the AFC North, they'll need to beat the Minnesota Vikings and hope that the New England Patriots defeat the Baltimore Ravens. This will expand Cincinnati's lead back to two games with only one game remaining.


If the Bengals and Ravens have identical results, both losing or winning next week, Cincinnati will maintain their one-game lead. That sets the stage for a week 17 showdown with the winner being crowned AFC North Champions. We have to believe that if it comes down to that, NBC is coming back to Cincinnati for a prime time game.

And obviously if the Bengals are upset by the Vikings and the Ravens beat New England, Baltimore ties Cincinnati's overall record heading into week 17. Whoever wins between the Bengals and Ravens in the regular season finale, wins the division.