The Cincinnati Bengals have not been mathematically eliminated, so they still have a shot at the postseason. There is a slim chance that they could actually pull off the last Wild Card spot.
The Bengals are playing the tough 10-3 Minnesota Vikings at 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The last time these two teams faced off, Week 16 of the 2013-14 season, Matt Cassel led the Vikes, but the Bengals, at home at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, took them to the slaughterhouse with an astonishing 42-14 victory. The purple and gold is heavily favored over the 5-8 Jungle, but Andy Dalton and A.J. Green know how to surprise a crowd; with his accuracy only getting better this year and the constant threat of Green’s hands of steel, the Red Rifle and his offense can clearly upset the Twin Cities’ representative to the National Football League.
The New York Jets are playing an NFC demon, the Drew Brees led New Orleans Saints. The Saints have a clear advantage over the J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets!, so maybe “Who Dat?!” will help their brothers to the far north, “Who Dey?!” by eliminating the Jets. Incidentally, if the Bengals and Saints both win, Minnesota and New Orleans would be tied for the second bye week in the NFC (the Vikings, however have the tiebreaker as they defeated the Saints in their only matchup this year 29-19 in Week One).
The Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills are playing each other and both teams are in the hunt. If the Bills win, the Dolphins are pretty much out of the picture and the Bills would continue to hold that last playoff spot in the AFC. The bright side of that for the Bengals is that they beat Buffalo in their sole clash 20-16 in Week Five, giving Cincy the tiebreaker, if the season should come to a tie between the two after Week 17 (the Bengals would have to go undefeated the rest of the way and the Bills would have to lose their last two games).
The next game pertinent to Cincy is the Oakland Raiders versus the Dallas Cowboys. If Dak Prescott can pull off a victory, his last game without Ezekiel Elliott, over Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree, the Raiders would be tied with the Bengals and that would help Cincy a great deal to finally be equal with their rivals. The Raiders lost last week to the Kansas City Chiefs, 26-14 and the Cowboys won their last two games 38-14 over the Washington Redskins and 30-10 over the New York Giants respectively, so that points to a Dallas victory.
The Los Angeles Chargers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 30-13 on Thursday night, so at 7-7, if the Chargers go 1-1 the rest of the way, or 0-2, the Bengals have a shot. If the Chargers win against the Jets next week (that week doesn’t affect the Bengals’ chances if the Saints win), but they still lose the week after, Week 17, against the Oakland Raiders (who would have to lose both this week and next week to help Cincinnati), the two teams (Cincinnati and LA) would be tied at 8-8, with the Bengals having the tiebreaker because they would have the better record inside their own division.
The last game the Bengals are counting on is rather unlikely, for it’s the 7-6 Baltimore Ravens against the 0-14 Cleveland Browns. That game looks like a gimme for Joe Flacco and the Ravens, but the Bengals and Ravens play each other in Week 17 and if they Bengals win, despite their 20-0 Week One loss to Baltimore, Cincy would have the better record in their division, the AFC North, and possess the tiebreaker, putting the 8-8 Cincinnati Bengals in the playoffs.
Fans out of southwestern Ohio, southeastern Indiana and northern Kentucky got some exciting news this morning that hated Bengals’ coach Marvin Lewis would be leaving after this season, so they have more hope for next year, the 2018-19 season, but they’re not done for 2017-18. The Bengals, though unlucky, are optimistic.