clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL playoff picture: Who to root for in Week 18 if you are a Cincinnati Bengals fan

Week 18 is here and the Cincinnati Bengals can still improve their playoff standing. Who should Bengals fans root for to help their chances?

Cincinnati Bengals fans hold a sign during their game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images

Sunday update: The Bengals and Bills both won in Week 18. The Bengals have secured the No. 3 seed and will face the Ravens at home in the Wild Card round.

Saturday update: The Chiefs beat the Raiders to clinch the No. 1 seed. It also removes the scenario in which a potential Bengals-Chiefs AFC Championship Game would be played at a neutral site. A Bills-Chiefs title game could still be on a neutral site, but any Bengals AFC title game would be at the site of the higher seed.

The Cincinnati Bengals are headed to the 2023 NFL Playoffs as AFC North champions, but nothing else is clear beyond that heading into Week 18. The Bengals had their Week 17 game against the Buffalo Bills canceled after Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field. Thankfully, Hamlin is on the road to recovery.

The Bengals and Bills will play one less game than the rest of the league due to the cancellation, and that creates some issues with playoff seeding. Cincinnati won the AFC North as soon as the game was canceled, but that does not guarantee them a home playoff game in the Wild Card round.

The Bengals host the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday and are a 9.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook. If the Bengals win, they will be either the No. 3 or No. 2 seed and host a first round playoff game. However, if the Ravens win and the Los Angeles Chargers beat the Denver Broncos on Sunday, the Bengals and Ravens would meet next week in the Wild Card round, but home field would be determined by a coin toss.

If you are a Bengals fan, you’ll have two games you’ll be paying attention to as they look to improve their chances of a playoff berth.

Bills vs. Patriots

Results update: Buffalo beat New England which means Cincinnati could not move into a tie for the No. 2 seed.

If the Bills beat the Patriots, the Bengals will remain the No. 3 seed. However, if the Bills lose to the Patriots, Buffalo and Cincinnati would finish in a tie. They would be equal in the conference record and common games record tiebreakers. That moves it to strength of victory. With a Bengals win and Bills loss, the Bengals would have a three-win edge in strength of victory, but it likely would change based on Sunday’s results.

The Bills are a 7.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook. They are a -315 moneyline favorite while the Patriots are a +260 underdog.

Chiefs vs. Raiders

Results update: The Chiefs crushed the Raiders, which means if the Bengals meet the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, it would be in Kansas City and not at a neutral site.

The Chiefs are currently in the No. 1 seed and will clinch it with a win or a Bills loss. However, if the Bills and Chiefs both lose and the Bengals win, a potential Bengals-Chiefs AFC Championship Game matchup would be at a neutral site. Any other AFC title game matchup would take place at the home of the higher seed.

The Chiefs are a 9-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook. They are a -425 moneyline favorite while the Raiders are a +340 underdog.

Chargers vs. Broncos

Update: The Bengals win mean this game has no impact on their playoff possibilities.

This game only matters if the Bengals lose to the Ravens. If that happens and the Chargers lose, Baltimore moves up to the No. 5 seed and would travel to face the winner of Saturday’s Titans-Jaguars game. The Bengals would host the Chargers in the Wild Card round. If the Chargers and Ravens both won, then Baltimore and Cincinnati would meet in the Wild Card round and would flip a coin for home field.

The Chargers are a 3-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook. They are a -170 moneyline favorite while the Broncos are a +145 underdog.