At 6-5, the Cincinnati Bengals are primed to make a playoff run during the season’s final stretch. They have the momentum, they’re playing better every week and now they face three straight winnable games.
I’d say that’s a pretty good formula to make the post-season, wouldn’t you?
At the beginning of the year, the entire second half of the Bengals’ schedule looked to be one of the toughest in the league. That was why they needed to fare well earlier on. When they didn’t play as well as they had hoped against the Dolphins and Browns, fans became worried as losses began to stack up.
Perhaps the football gods have given them a second chance. Who would have thought that the Chargers, Cowboys and Eagles would all be having unusually subpar years? What’s more, they all seem to be trending the wrong way.
Whatever the reasoning, it certainly works in Cincinnati’s favor. A win against the Chargers would move them two games over .500 and possibly into sole possession of a wild-card spot, barring an unlikely Baltimore loss to Pittsburgh.
Many fans will be wary of the Bengals traveling to the West Coast and playing a decent team. Rightfully so. The Chargers are not as bad as their record suggests, ‘tis true. However, what their record does reflect is the fact that this San Diego team just can’t find ways to win games.
Look for the Bengals to close out a close one.
Then a pair of NFC East foes are up next in consecutive weeks. The first will be the main test. The Cowboys are a dangerous team, and have kept most of their losses very close. In fact, more than one of them was a single play from going their way. So the Bengals will need to be at the top of their game when Dallas comes to PBS.
That being said, the game should go Cincinnati's way because their defense has the full capability to outplay that of the Cowboys.
Following up are the Eagles, who seem to delve further into disaster with each passing week. Injuries, mistakes and overall poor play have this team already thinking about next season. The Bengals will deal with the rough Philly environment, and take care of business when they should.
In other words, a 9-5 record isn’t looking too difficult at this point. And if the Bengals can indeed get these three wins, they’ll march into Heinz Field to face the Steelers in what could be a win-and-in contest for a wild-card playoff spot.
That being said, I think if the Bengals can win either of their last two games (Pittsburgh and Baltimore), then they make the playoffs.
Hang on, Bengals fans. It’s going to be a fun ride.