A quick look at the playoff picture facing the Cincinnati Bengals;
– If the playoffs began tomorrow, the Bengals would travel to New England to take on the Patriots. Indianapolis would travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens, while Houston and Denver would be on a bye week, waiting for the divisional round to begin.
– Cincinnati will play the #3 seed in the wild card game. It does not matter what happens next week. The Bengals will be the #6 seed. The Colts have a 10-5 record, Cincinnati is at 9-6. Indianapolis wins the tiebreaker, based on the third rule of wildcard tiebreakers, common opponents. Losses to Miami and Cleveland cost the Bengals in this scenario.
– The Bengals realistically could play any one of four teams in the first round.
Baltimore can take over the #3 seed with a win against the Bengals, coupled with a New England loss to Miami.
New England can hold the #3 seed with a win, provided both Denver and Houston also win.
Denver will fall to the #3 seed if they lose to Kansas City, AND Houston loses to Indy, AND New England beats Miami.
Houston will fall to the #3 seed if they lose to Indy, and both New England and Denver win.