When the Cincinnati Bengals skidded into a mid-season four game losing streak – which included the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins – it seemed any talk of the playoffs this year may as ridiculous as a zebra on a Zamboni. As it turns out, the Bengals are a team with a fighting spirit to be reckoned with as they hoisted themselves out of their winless spiral and into a genuine Wild Card battle.
The Cincinnati Bengals topped off their four in a row loss record with a four in a row winning record beating the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers to come out ahead with a record of 7-5. While the Baltimore Ravens have a firm grasp on the division holding firm with a record of 9-3, the two AFC Wild Card spots are up for grabs, and the Cincinnati Bengals control their playoff destiny.
The final two remaining playoff Wild Card spots are coming down to three teams: the Bengals, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Currently the Indianapolis Colts hold a one game advantage on the Bengals and Steelers with a record of 8-4. The Colts have won their last two games with rookie sensation Andrew Luck at the helm, but they will play the formidable Houston Texans twice in the final four weeks of the season and that could be trouble for Indy.
The Pittsburgh Steelers share the Bengals 7-5 record and currently hold the edge on a tie-breaker as the Steeler beat the Bengals earlier this year. However Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been sidelined with injuries the past three weeks, and though he hopes to return this week, he likely will not be one hundred percent.
The Cincinnati Bengals are at home this week versus the Dallas Cowboys, a decent team, but a beatable team as well. The final week of the season Cincinnati will take on the Baltimore Ravens at home, but there is a possibility that the Ravens playoff future will be solidified by that point. If this isn’t a must win game for the Ravens, some starting players may sit out.
Assuming the Colts manage to continue winning, the final Wild Card spot will be between the Bengals and Steelers. This last post season opportunity may very well be decided in Week 15 when the Bengals travel to Pittsburgh to battle it out. The Steelers are always a tough opponent, but there is no game the Cincinnati Bengals would rather win than against Pittsburgh with the playoffs on the line.
Lisa Stewart is a married mother of two who lives in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a die-hard Bengals fan who looks forward to the day when they will finally win it all.
Follow Lisa on Twitter: @lisa0606
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