Cincinnati Bengals 2012: Will Bengals Make the Playoffs? Too Early to Tell

Alex PetermanCorrespondent IIIDecember 11, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 21:  Andrew Whitworth #77 celebrates with Cedric Peerman #30 of the Cincinnati Bengals after Peerman scored a touchdown during the NFL game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The only AFC North team that won on Sunday was the Cleveland Browns. What?

In fact, the only good thing that came out of Sunday for the Cincinnati Bengals is the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens also lost.

Which means the Bengals are still very much in the playoff picture as they pay a visit to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles this Thursday night.

Another fact is that Cincinnati actually still controls its playoff destiny. A loss on Sunday most likely puts them out of the race for the AFC North as they would need the Ravens to lose out. Tough as their schedule is, the chances of that happening seem too much to count on for the Bengals.

For the wild card, however, they are right in the midst of the race.  While the Colts seem to be headed towards clinching the first AFC wild card spot, only the Bengals and Steelers remain positive contenders for the second one.

A Steelers loss against the San Diego Chargers actually helps Cincinnati in that it was an AFC in-conference game against a team the Bengals already beat. It’s unclear now, but that could potentially be a large factor as the playoffs are decided.

The key right now is that both the Bengals and Steelers actually control their respective destinies, because both sit at 7-6, with a game against each other still remaining in Week 16.

If both teams end up ending the season at 9-7, the tie-breakers still remain unclear at this point. Pittsburgh still has a game against the Cleveland Browns, who won against the Chiefs last week 30-7.  The Bengals still have Baltimore at home on their schedule as well.

Those will be important, so no conclusions can be drawn yet. With both the Bengals and Steelers ending Week 15 on a poor note, the playoffs still remain cloudy for both teams.